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Councils join forces to encourage economic development

Thursday May 7 2015

The Horizons Draft Long Term Plan identifies the region has considerable strengths in agribusiness and that central government is about to conclude the Regional Growth Study for the Horizons Region.

For the first time, councils in the region have come together to make a joint submission to Horizons. The submission requests Horizons contributes $230,000p.a. for the first three years of the LTP 2015-25 to fund the implementation of the Regional Growth Study.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says the mayors from throughout the region see significant benefits for all our communities, whether they are urban or rural, from a collective focus on this issue.

"We believe that a collective focus at a regional scale will enhance the economic development work that is already underway in our own districts, cities and towns."

Whanganui Mayor Annette Main says the mayors are aware there are considerable infrastructure challenges that lie ahead and key to overcoming these challenges is a growing sustainable economy.

"We believe the timing is right for a strong regional focus on economic development if we are to achieve our aims of doubling agri-business exports and maintaining and improving infrastructure."

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy says central government has indicated that it wishes to partner with the region to implement the findings of the Regional Growth Study.

"We believe that Horizons Regional Council is in a strong position to develop and facilitate this partnership because of the relationship it has built up with central government during the development of the Regional Growth Study."

Manawatu Mayor Margaret Kouvelis says her council recognises there is strength in partnerships with neighbouring councils to grow the regional economy.

"By working together and using the growing agribusiness sector as a basis we are in a good position to increase employment and incomes in our region."

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron says the district and city councils are ready to provide the support and the involvement of our respective Councils.

"We are determined to ensure our region is in a position to support and capitalise on the latent economic potential. By utilising the staff from our respective councils and through the leadership of the regional council we will be able to achieve our aims."

Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis says the district and city councils already have key relationships with business leaders, Iwi, councils and EDA staff to add to the implementation process.

"We see support from Horizons as being critical for implementation of the growth study findings. Together, with our business, Iwi and economic development agency relationships we can achieve our goal of doubling our region's exports."

Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson says it has been really positive working with fellow mayors from around the region.

"Significant momentum has been gained across the region with development of the Growth Study. However, without a focus on implementation it loses its value so this is why we are appealing for Horizons Regional Council to take a lead."

The Regional Growth Study and implementation plan will be launched in July 2015. The councils recognise that negotiation will need to occur with central government as partners in the implementation process and are looking forward to this occurring.