The business brains helping to drive Taranaki's economy sat down with the Minister of Economic Development for a roundtable discussion yesterday.
Steven Joyce, a former Taranaki businessman himself, was in town on a regional economic visit.
Mr Joyce's portfolios include economic development, finance, science and innovation and tertiary education, skills and employment.
After swinging by several successful Taranaki businesses, Mr Joyce sat down at the New Plymouth District Council chambers with about 20 of the region's business and development leaders to "chew the fat".
Chief executives in oil and gas, engineering, infrastructure, education and service industries were present as well as the three Taranaki district mayors, Mr Joyce said.
While media were not invited to the discussion, Mr Joyce told the Daily News afterwards the discussion focused on innovation, skill training and infrastructure.
"There's no doubt about it, Taranaki is certainly performing pretty well economically and most of the discussion was how to keep things going and how to make sure we don't trip ourselves up," Mr Joyce said.
There were also discussions relating to Exclusive Economic Zone legislation changes which are being finalised at the moment as well as changes to simplify and streamline the Resource Management Act, he said.
"The oil and gas guys wanted to make sure that we managed the resource process well."
Mr Joyce was pleased to see the growing relationship between the oil and gas industry, the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT), and the Extractives Industry Training Organisation.
Issues around roading were raised only once at the end of the meeting, he said.
Current Taranaki job figures were promising, with unemployment sitting at 3.5 per cent compared to the national rate of 6.8 per cent.
"Taranaki is in good heart."
Taranaki industry and innovation were a shining example of how the rest of New Zealand should be operating, he said.
"The great thing about Taranaki is that it does what it takes to be successful."
He was also positive about the region's councillors.
"You have a set of councillors who are realistic and economically focused."
Exporters hurt by a high dollar needed to be versatile in order to thrive, he said.
"You've just got to stay ahead of that innovation curve."
Rather than worry about what global currencies were doing, businesses should focus on what they could control, he said.
"The factors you can control are how effective, productive and innovative you are."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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