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Economic Development Services delivered through one organisation

Thursday December 11 2014

The Palmerston North City and Manawatū District Councils' economic development review has recommended that economic development activities, currently undertaken by Vision Manawatū, Destination Manawatū, and Feilding Promotion should be provided by a single entity, a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO).

Initially the review looked at the economic development activities within Vision Manawatū, Destination Manawatū, Bio Commerce Centre, Spearhead, Feilding Promotion and Sport Manawatū. As the review progressed, it narrowed its focus to three bodies, Vision Manawatū, Destination Manawatū, and Feilding Promotion.

The review included a series of joint-Council workshops to canvas the range of service delivery options available, key advantages and disadvantages of each option and a criteria based options analysis was undertaken.

Palmerston North Deputy Mayor Jim Jefferies says it's important that employees of both organisations should understand that this is not about reducing staff numbers.

"It is about finding the right vehicle for both Councils so that together we can achieve our economic development goals and capitalise on future regional opportunities," he says.

Manawatū District Council Mayor Margaret Kouvelis says the timing of the report and recommendations allows for inclusion in both Councils' Long Term Plan processes for consultation with the public.

"I want to thank Morrison Low for their in-depth report and for hosting the series of workshops that enabled elected members of both Councils to understand the pros and cons of each delivery model."

"We now have a clear, informed recommendation for our preferred delivery model that will be considered by both Councils" she says.

The report and its recommendations will go before Palmerston North City Council's meeting on Monday 15 December, and a similar report with the same recommendations will go before the Manawatū District Council on 18 December. If adopted, both Chief Executives will be tasked with investigating the implications of the CCO model to deliver economic development services.

The economic development review was initiated by Manawatū District Council in June 2013. The aim of the review was to ensure that funding allocated to this area was aligned with the outcomes sought. It covered two stages:

  • Development of an Economic Strategy for Manawatū
  • Investigation into service delivery options to deliver on the strategy.

Palmerston North City Council joined the second stage of the review. The review allowed both Councils to meet obligations under amendments to the Local Government Act. Section 17A requires local authorities to periodically assess the cost-effectiveness of their services, including governance, funding and delivery arrangements (including in-house service delivery), CCO's, another local authority, and another person or agency.

If adopted through the respective Councils' Long Term Plans then establishment of a new CCO would commence in the next financial year.