Mayors across the Horizons' region have signed an agreement to work together on the challenges and opportunities facing the area.

The mayors, Grant Smith, Palmerston North; Manawatū, Helen Worboys; Bernie Wanden, Horowhenua; Hamish McDouall, Whanganui; Andy Watson, Rangitikei, Don Cameron, Ruapehu; and Tracey Collis, Tararua, deputy mayors and chief executives are taking a regional approach and spent two days discussing and workshopping a range of topics.

All mayors signed an agreement called the Makoura Agreement demonstrating the commitment to the way forward.

The priorities will be a standing item on the regional chief executive meeting, which is held quarterly.


Rangitikei mayor Andy Watson said it was great to hear what other councils were doing in the region.

"While we are all working to improve the lives of our communities in our districts and cities, as a region we have recognised we can do better working together."

Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said the region has performed well in recent years.

"Over the period December 2017 to December 2019, the regional economy grew by 6.1 per cent versus 5.5 per cent for New Zealand. Additionally our regional population has increased by 1.4 per cent over the past year.

"This growth brings many positives, but also issues for our communities.

"As a region we know we will be stronger confronting these together," he said.

Manawatū mayor Helen Worboys said there was also a clear commitment regionally to improve iwi partnerships.

"We are all aware that we can better enhance our partnerships with tangata whenua and we recognised this needs to be done at a local level."


The group workshopped the top priorities they would focus on as a collective for the next 12 months, deciding on a final five.

These included: sharing data and ensuring the region's wellbeing is being captured accurately; reviewing the Accelerate25 Strategy; identifying and mitigating the effects of climate change; creating a regional spatial plan and developing an identity as a strong economic and tourism destination.