The Government has rolled out the latest part of its plans to dramatically boost exports with the launch of 49 initiatives to improve efficiencies within the natural resource sector.
Unveiled by a swathe of ministers - Bill English, Steven Joyce, David Carter, Phil Heatly and Amy Adams - at a breakfast in Wellington, the Building Natural Resources report focuses heavily on water management, oil and gas exploration, as well as streamlining the regulatory approval process for new projects.
Emphasis was placed on striking the right balance between maximising returns from the country's natural assets while still maintaining the "clean green" brand – a important competitive advantage for locally produced goods in offshore markets.
"The Government is taking a hard look at how all our resources are managed so we can continue to grow our economy and look after out environment," said Joyce, who heads the super ministry, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
"To do this, government, business, and the wider community need to work together. There is a real opportunity to take a partnership approach in the development of our natural resources opportunities."
The report falls under MBIE's Business Growth Agenda, a six part plan which aims to boost New Zealand's exports from 30 per cent of gross domestic product – a level it had remained at for the past 15 years – to 40 per cent.
The ministry's six "ingredients" or plans directly focus on exports markets, innovation, skilled and safe workplaces, infrastructure, natural resources, and capital markets.
The final report on capital markets is due in the next few months, which will see a total of 300 initiatives launched to reach the export milestone.
The latest document comes just ahead of two major resource sector announcements today.
Minster for Energy and Resources Phil Heatly is set to name the winners of the Block Offer 2012 exploration permits later this morning, with 10 of the 13 offered earlier this year believed to have been awarded to a mix of international and local energy companies.
Later today Environment Minister Amy Adams is expected to see the Resource Management Amendment Bill 2012 through its first reading in Parliament.
The amendment is part of an ongoing legislative review process, and aims to streamline Auckland's first unitary plan, impose a six-month time limit for processing consents for medium-sized projects, and promotes easier direct referral to the Environment Court for major regional projects.
The Bill also looks to step up the pressure on councils to base their planning decision on solid cost-benefit and impact analyses, and improve transparency and accountability around the decision making process.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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