Regional growth programme

Our economy is made up of diverse regions, each with distinct strengths and challenges, depending on local natural resource, infrastructure and people. Because New Zealand will realise its full economic potential when all our regions are thriving, regional economic development is a priority for MBIE and is supported by the Regional Growth Programme.

[image] The Regional Growth Programme cover imageThrough the Regional Growth Programme we work to identify potential growth opportunities in selected regions and help increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. Read the Regional Growth Programme booklet [PDF 3.9MB].

The programme has been commissioned jointly by MBIE and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), working in partnership with other central government agencies and regional stakeholders, such as businesses, iwi and Māori, economic development agencies and councils.

Regions are a cross-cutting theme in the Business Growth Agenda, and the Regional Growth Programme contributes to the following six focus areas:

  • export markets
  • investment
  • innovation
  • skilled and safe workplaces
  • natural resources
  • infrastructure.

Participating regions

Regions involved in the programme (see below) are selected based on need, which is identified by how the region compares against national averages for income, employment and investment.

Senior Regional Officials

Senior public servants from various agencies are appointed to lead government work in each area.


Senior Regional Official


Ben Dalton, Ministry for Primary Industries

Bay of Plenty

Paul Stocks, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


Mike James, Ministry of Transport


Ruth Bound, Ministry of Social Development

Hawke's Bay

Carl Crafar, Ministry of Justice


Al Morrison, State Services Commission


Di Grennell, Te Puni Kōkiri


Helen Wyn, Department of Internal Affairs

West Coast

Bruce Parkes, Department of Conservation


Penny Nelson, Ministry for the Environment

Regional Growth Programme evaluation

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have commissioned an independent evaluation of the Regional Growth Programme’s implementation.

The programme is regionally led and supported across government agencies. As the programme was first established in the Northland and Bay of Plenty regions, aspects from these regions will be used as case studies for the evaluation.

The evaluation will look at whether central government’s role in implementing the programme has been effective. It will also assess the programme’s outcomes, such as the value to the wider community and where improvements can be made.

This evaluation is not related to other reviews underway or recently completed in the Northland and Bay of Plenty regions, such as the refreshes of regional economic action plans or the review of economic arrangements in Northland (under the Local Government Act Section 17A delivery of services review). However, where possible, publically available information used in those reviews will be used to inform this evaluation.

An independent evaluation and research company has been commissioned to do the evaluation. The company has a highly experienced team of evaluators spread across the regions and will be contacting and engaging with key contacts in Northland and the Bay of Plenty as part of their evaluation work.

The evaluation will take place over the next few months. Email Shannon Tyler for more information.