14 Sep 2012

Auckland launches plan to improve economic growth

10:30 am on 14 September 2012

An ambitious plan is being launched to more than double Auckland's economic growth rate.

The region's Economic Development Strategy launched on Friday aims within 30 years to have GDP rising by more than 5% a year, and export growth of more than 6%.

The 10-year strategy will target five sectors with the greatest potential, including food and beverage, information and communication technology, and health technology.

Auckland Council economic development manager Harvey Brookes says the goals are unashamedly ambitious.

He says after considering Auckland's economic performance for the last 20 years in terms of GDP, exports and productivity, it was evident increases of 5 - 6% have been recorded a handful of times.

"Those are rates that have occurred, so they are not impossible and if we do have an ambitious approach towards this we should be saying how can we turn the occasional high peaks into the normal".

The plan concentrates on key sectors, such as the food and beverage industry, and high-tech areas in health and information technology.

Mr Brookes says the strategy also involves tackling major weaknesses in Auckland, such as the need to boost education and skill levels.

Initiatives already underway include a high-tech innovation centre on the waterfront, and a year-old food processing plant in Mangere to make trial runs of new products.