Otago's strengths highlighted

Otago is a leading region for tourism, superior wool production, winemaking, design and specialised manufacturing, the regional profile released yesterday says.

 • Govt ups regional push

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce released a set of 14 regional profiles at the New Zealand and Australia Economic Development Forum to promote investment opportunities in each region of New Zealand.

The Otago profile said Dunedin, the region's capital, was home to the University of Otago, a centre of high-quality learning. The university was creating investible opportunities in advanced manufacturing and health technologies.

Queenstown, in Central Otago, was a world-famous tourist hub offering investment opportunities in hotel, tourism ventures and conference facilities.

Otago Chamber of Commerce past-president Peter McIntyre welcomed the regional profile.

For a long time, Mr McIntyre, who was part of the group which developed the region's Economic Development Strategy, had asked for a stocktake on the region, to make clear what the region had to offer.

The profile noted such things as 40 specialised manufacturing firms, 93 patent applications per million people compared to the New Zealand average of 72, 120 wineries, the South Island's primary export port and two international airports.

A transport hub was essential for any region contemplating economic growth, he said.

''This document shows us what we have to protect, where are areas of growth are and what activities are likely to attract central government funding,'' Mr McIntyre said.

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