29 Oct 2015

New plan to boost BoP jobs, investment

10:59 am on 29 October 2015

An economic plan has been unveiled to tackle employment and investment in the Bay of Plenty, including expanding kiwifruit growing and supporting the development of the country's biggest offshore marine farm, near Opotiki.

Green kiwifruit growers got their highest ever return per hectare of $53,884 and just over $6 a tray.

The expansion of kiwifruit farms is a key aspect of the plan. Photo: 123RF

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce launched the plan in Rotorua on this morning.

The Bay of Plenty was growing well as a result of the recovery from the kiwifruit PSA crisis and the tourism industry, he said.

But that growth needed to be maintained and extended to all parts of the region, especially the eastern Bay.

Mr Joyce said a key project was the Ōpōtiki Harbour Development Project, with the Government granting up to $3 million to validate the proposal.

"The Ōpōtiki Harbour project is an exciting, community-led strategy to revitalise the economy of the eastern Bay of Plenty through the development of aquaculture, related industries and most importantly, jobs.

"It aims to create a year-round navigable harbour entrance, and construct a new commercial wharf which will support a range of industries including processing facilities for the 3,800ha offshore marine farm."

He said a geotechnical investigation and designs would be done for the harbour entrance.

The engineering assessment is expected to be completed within the next two years in parallel with industry testing of the commercial viability of the mussel farm.