The foundation business research project report has been produced by the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), a new organisation set up by the Palmerston North City and Manawatū District Councils to promote economic growth.
Mayor Smith says the report prepared by UMR Research provides a sense check for the whole region.
“It’s great to have some updated data. We really appreciate the contribution made by more than 400 businesses towards the report and have taken their feedback on board. We already have projects underway that address the key challenges identified in the report and capitalise on our strengths as a city and a region.”
Mayor Smith says plans are in place to make the city centre a more vibrant place to work and live.
“Our central location and expertise in the fields of agriculture, research and innovation give us many advantages and we’re seeing huge opportunities for growth in agri-foods, logistics and distribution.”
He says the education, health and defence sectors attract people from around New Zealand and the globe.
“Our regional Talent Central Initiative is helping match our young people with job opportunities within our growth sectors and Accelerate 25 - our coordinated regional economic growth plan- is already in full swing.”
Mayor Smith says that over the next 20 years $250 million will be invested in Food HQ. Its new super-campus will be home to more than 4000 researchers and educators involved in the agri-food value chain.
“We’ve also secured government support for a regional ring road that’ll make it much easier to move freight through the lower North Island and give a huge boost to our already booming logistics sector.”
He says the region is also getting behind more community-led and nationally significant events.
“I believe perceptions of our region are changing. Palmerston North is very affordable and we’re seeing more people moving here to take advantage of our cost-effective housing, buoyant job market and business opportunities.”
“We’ve listened to the business sector‘s concerns about Council processes and we’re taking action. We’ve been making a series of improvements to the way we engage with our clients in the sector over the past two years. This includes the creation of a major project service which provides developers with a dedicated Council team of technical experts.
“We’re creating a simpler faster and cheaper online system for obtaining building consents. It’s designed to speed up turn-around times, give builders and developers much more certainty, and ultimately encourage more investment and growth in our city.”
“As a Council we want to be open for business and really make our economy hum.”
The CEDA report can be found here