Prime Minister John Key says Hawke's Bay businesses need to be "outward looking" to lift both the local and national economy.
Mr Key praised the province yesterday during the National Party's Lower North Island Conference at a packed Napier Sailing Club.
"This really is a beautiful part of the world," Mr Key said.
He said Hawke's Bay was not unlike the rest of the country in that it needed to "lift its economic footprint".
"New Zealand is never going to get wealthy selling things to each other. There are 4.5 million of us and that is not enough. We have to sell more to the world than we buy from the world."
Kiwis should be "pretty pumped up" as the country was producing something people wanted to buy, he said.
"There are a quarter of a billion people in Indonesia, with a trillion dollar economy, who are starting to consume better quality food and more protein. On average each person there drinks only two drops of milk per day. If they increased that to a half glass, they'd consume more than Fonterra can produce. These are mindblowing numbers.
"Also if we talk meat, in Indonesia they eat [average] 2.1 kilograms of beef a year. Kiwis probably eat 50 kilos. That's why the best years for New Zealanders are ahead of us, not behind us."
Potential business through the internet could not be under-sold, he said.
"I know of a law firm in Auckland with 16 partners and no New Zealand clients.
"Peter Jackson is another example. He was telling me he writes a behind-the-scenes blog site, and he gets more hits online every day than the New York Times. That's the world we're living in. You can be an entrepreneur and live in Napier and sell to the world. That's the future of New Zealand."
Mr Key also paid tribute to local MPs Chris Tremain and Craig Foss. "Both are doing an absolutely fabulous job with their portfolios. They're learning the ropes well. It's a great example of how you can work collaboratively with an electorate to cover a geographic area and turn it into what is now a very safe part of the world for National. We forget that not that long ago Napier was seen as rock solid Labour - it certainly isn't these days."