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Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and other Government Ministers are in Christchurch today to co-launch the refresh of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy. 

The strategy aims to position the region so that economic growth can continue off the back of earthquake recovery and the rebuild to drive economic activity and employment.

“Since the 2010 earthquake, Government investment in Canterbury has been significant,” Mr Bridges says.

“By December 2016, the Government had spent $14.3 billion on Canterbury earthquake costs and in the six months post the November 2016 earthquake centred in Kaikoura, Government has contributed to date around $850 million towards the recovery and rebuild.

“As rebuild activity levels off, the strategy sets challenging targets that will need sustained collaboration with the telecommunications, primary industries, education, tourism and business sectors. Canterbury is well placed to drive the region onto the next phase of economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.

The strategy’s implementation is led by the Canterbury Mayoral Forum with central government support. It includes strategic, high level proposals that advance work streams across the region as a whole.

Mr Guy says the primary industries are a cornerstone of the region’s economic development.

“Canterbury has a highly productive and diverse primary sector - strong in beef, dairy and lamb exports, with the arable, forestry and horticulture sectors also very important,” Mr Guy says.

“The refreshed strategy highlights the importance of adding value to what we produce. This is why the Government has a goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025 and is supporting this through research and development, irrigation, water storage, trade access and developing skills.”

The strategy has seven work programmes including:

Integrated regional transport planning and infrastructure investment Digital connectivity – extension and uptake of fast broadband in rural areas Freshwater management and irrigation infrastructure Education and training for a skilled workforce Newcomer and migrant settlement – skilled workers, cohesive communities Value-added production Regional visitor strategy.

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