Regional economic development agency Venture Taranaki, has announced the appointment of Justine Gilliland as the Trust’s General Manager, Transitional Economy.

The position, supported by the Provincial Growth Fund to foster greater economic diversification of Taranaki’s economy, will add both capacity and capability to Venture Taranaki’s work in response to the challenges facing the region, and New Zealand, in moving to a low carbon economy.

“The changing nature of our key sectors will have a significant impact on Taranaki’s regional economy, its businesses and its people,” said Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle.

“This role is a pivotal component in the region’s ability to lead New Zealand through a process of transformation to a lower-carbon economy, and we are pleased to have secured a manager of this work programme with the skills and experience of Justine.”

An experienced strategist and leader, Justine has most recently held the position of Deputy Director-General Sector Partnerships and Programmes at the Ministry for Primary Industries, where she led multi-million dollar sustainable growth programmes, Maori partnerships, regional development, and the establishment of Te Uru Rakau (Forestry New Zealand) and the 1 billion trees programme.

Prior to this, Justine ran MPI’s R&D and other external grants and funds. Before joining MPI, she ran the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission of Inquiry.

“Justine’s extensive experience in driving innovation and economic growth both at industry level and through working across diverse stakeholder groups will be critical to this role’s success.”

“The position will work alongside the region’s businesses, iwi, communities and people, as well as central government and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, to recognise, generate, and foster opportunities for economic growth beyond the fossil-based energy sector,” Stuart said.

“There is strong alignment with the action points of Tapuae Roa, Taranaki’s regional economic development strategy released in April this year, and Justine will seek to identify and access further funding from the Provincial Growth Fund to leverage opportunities for regional growth. 

A regional alumni, Justine is looking forward to returning to Taranaki and taking up the role.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Taranaki and doing what I can to contribute to growing the potential and prosperity of an already dynamic and vibrant region,” Justine says.

“The transitioning economy offers a remarkable opportunity for Taranaki to take the lead in driving the New Zealand economy into the future. This position is integral to that, and I’m excited about bridging the gap between the governmental capital of Wellington and the innovation and lifestyle capital of Taranaki.”