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Published: 2013-03-14 00:00:00

Joint media release: An agreement signed last night (13 March) will see the University of Waikato and the Waikato Regional Council pool their talent for the good of the region.

MOU signing
SIGNED OFF: From left, University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor
Professor Roy Crawford, Chancellor Jim Bolger, Waikato
Regional Council Chairman Peter Buckley and CEO Bob
Laing at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding
between the two groups.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by University of Waikato Chancellor Jim Bolger and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford, and Waikato Regional Council Chairman Peter Buckley and CEO Bob Laing.

The agreement will see the two organisations working collaboratively on areas of common interest including the promotion of the Waikato region, land and river management, agribusiness, natural hazards and coastal planning and management.

Working together made sense

Professor Crawford says University of Waikato academics are often working in the same areas as regional council staff, and it makes sense to work together in those areas to benefit the region. “Both parties have excellent staff who are often working towards the same end - this agreement allows us to better utilise available talent and work collaboratively to solve problems and make improvements.

“It is the quality of talent that is key to working together under this agreement. Our academics are experts and world-leaders in many of the fields that are at the heart of the regional council's work - we have a lot of regional, national and international expertise that we can share in the region.”

Some examples of where the two parties can share expertise include fresh water management, coastal marine management, geography, legal matters, agriculture etc.

Professor Crawford says the two organisations will consider making joint applications for funding for regional projects because a multi-disciplinary approach benefits everyone, particularly residents and ratepayers.

At the centre of the golden triangle

The regional council's chairman, Peter Buckley, says the council and the university are at the centre of the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

“Our existing relationship allows us to broaden our collaboration, particularly in the areas of economic development and environmental management,” he said.

Mr Buckley says organisations often enter high-level MoUs, but many agreements end up languishing in a bottom drawer.

“This is an agreement that will have life. It isn't a short-term approach - we expect our staff and the university's academics to be working together over a sustained period to help our own region.”