Napier MP Stuart Nash. Photo/NZME
I have to spend a lot of time in Wellington because of this job, but whenever I can I try to go to the regions.
Anyone who has heard me speak knows that I like to say, when our regions are doing well, New Zealand is doing well. I love visiting innovative and ambitious businesses that are driving regional growth, as well as seeing all the different ways regions are progressing in terms of infrastructure and tourism.
It was fantastic to see recent figures from economic advisory agency Infometrics which show that regions are leading overall economic growth as we emerge from the pandemic. I was particularly proud to see that Hawke’s Bay had the highest level of growth over pre-pandemic levels at 8.7%, followed closely by Gisborne at 8.5%. Great things are happening in the Bay!
Last month, I accompanied the Prime Minister to open the brand new Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre. This center is a considerable asset for the region and I am extremely proud that the government has invested $32 million in this project.
The project is a fine example of quality infrastructure that creates jobs and economic growth for our regions. The project created 88 jobs during construction and will employ people long term now that it is open.
This center is a world-class facility – capable of hosting national and international events, including the World Aquatics Championships – with a 10-lane Olympic-size swimming pool, training pool, hydrotherapy center and a capacity of up to accommodate up to 1662 people. This is a facility that residents and visitors to Hawke’s Bay will greatly appreciate.
Last week, I spoke at the Hawke’s Bay Export Awards, recognizing the success of the region’s top performing exporters. I have talked about the importance of exports to the Hawke’s Bay region and to New Zealand as a whole. At our roots, we are a trading nation. It’s a key strength of our economy – and the Kiwis do it very well!
As Minister of Economic and Regional Development, I know how strong the export community is in Hawke’s Bay. Our exporters develop great products, think outside the box to find solutions to a wide range of problems, and build long-term global relationships.
NZTE has grown over the past year to support more exporters, and I know many businesses in Hawke’s Bay are working with NZTE to increase their export capacity.
A prosperous future for New Zealand depends on its benefits for all New Zealanders, not just big business. Our government’s Trade for All strategy, which we have been implementing for the past five years, is key to ensuring we have a growing economy that works for all Kiwis.
Trade for All contributes to an economy that produces and exports higher-value goods and services, protects the environment, supports the growth of our regions, supports productive and high-quality investment, and helps ensure that all New – Zealanders can share in the fruits of economic growth. generated by trade.
It focuses on finding export opportunities for Maori, women and our micro, small and medium enterprises.
We know that exporting companies are more productive than non-exporting ones. On average, they have 89% more output per worker than non-exporting firms, three times higher sales and four times higher levels of business capital.
It was great to be able to recognize and celebrate our great local businesses that innovate and export around the world. I will continue to work with them to ensure that their products which are already locally famous find a global audience.
Stuart Nash is MP for Napier