“The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City may take some time to be fully understood,” says Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith.
“Covid-19 is different from other emergency events experienced in New Zealand. There has been no damage to infrastructure, but the impacts of the pandemic are being felt by businesses, individuals, families, neighbourhoods, and organisations. We know that the economic and social impacts are likely to be significant and felt by the community long into the future.”
Palmerston North City Council, together with Horizons Regional Council has been leading the local response through its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).
“Most Council functions and services affected by the pandemic are re-established, so we’re now turning our attention to the city’s recovery.
“The government is encouraging councils to assist with economic recovery by accelerating capital projects and continuing to deliver services to stimulate the local economy. We endorse this approach,” says Mayor Smith.
“While the private sector may necessarily retrench, there is an opportunity for the public sector to assist with economic recovery. PNCC will continue to examine all its costs to ensure services are delivered effectively. We believe a rates freeze could result in additional costs in later years or a reduction in the services provided by Council.
“Recovery also provides an opportunity for this Council to show leadership by responding to Government direction, understanding and supporting the work of other agencies, and working with strategic partners, such as Rangitāne o Manawatū and CEDA, as they fulfil their leadership roles in the city.”
We’ve planned a three-stage approach:
- Stage One: Recovery Planning
- Stage Two: Review and Update
- Stage Three: Long-term Recovery.
Some Stage One actions are underway or already completed, and Stage Three will have measures considered through the next 10 Year Plan 2021-31 process.
Stage One actions focus on four areas of wellbeing: economic, cultural, social and environmental. In summary, these are:
Economic – facilitate new building, support local business, and promote efficient procurement and contractor relationships.
Cultural – promote more placemaking, encourage events, support users of our venues, and build community spirit.
Social – support community welfare and active communities initiatives.
Environmental – promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the use of active and public transport, and increase biodiversity.
CEO Heather Shotter says Council staff have accelerated planned initiatives as part of the plan. “Two examples have kickstarted the city’s economic recovery are the commencement of the Arena Masterplan construction - employing many local contractors, and Choose Manawatū, the buy local campaign to support other business sectors with 198 businesses registered.
The Recovery Plan meets the requirements of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (Sec 155), follows National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) guidance and has been prepared with information and advice received from government departments, Horizons Regional Council, PNCC’s EOC, and strategic partners.
The plan is available on our website: pncc.govt.nz/recovery