Becoming a district that is "digital by design" is part of the rationale behind Whanganui District Council's draft digital strategy.

The draft strategy is currently out for public consultation after a series of workshops with people from different sectors provided input to develop the document.

"One strong idea which emerged from the workshop was that participants wanted Whanganui to take a proactive approach in preparing for the future," policy and governance manager Stephanie Macdonald-Rose said.

"Although this strategy will be formulated by the council, delivery of its actions will be a collaborative, community-focused effort.

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"We want to build on the great things we are already doing as a district in the digital space, while also setting our sights on emerging opportunities. As a result, we have set a vision to keep pace with digital opportunities to empower and enrich our community.

"We want to be known for our digital capabilities in order to attract businesses, investors, talent and tourists to Whanganui."

The strategy's goals are:
• We are accessible, linked in and known for it.
• We are prepared for the future.
• We foster innovation and improvement through a digital lens.
• Whanganui District Council is future-focused and enabling.

Chief operating officer Bryan Nicholson said "no direct funding" had been allocated by the council to deliver on the strategy.

"Once the strategy has been approved we will continue to work with the community to identify various revenue streams to ensure that any costs to the ratepayer is kept to a minimum," Nicholson said.

"If future funding is required outside of what council already does, we will ensure that this is included in the next annual plan process where we can consult with the community on what and how we plan on funding digital initiatives."

The strategy was different to that of other cities and districts because it had been developed with assistance from the community "so a key focus is driving digital innovation and opportunities in partnership", Nicholson said.

"This requires a framework that sets out what Whanganui wants to achieve and how we will get there," he said.

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After the strategy has been finalised, an action plan will be developed, setting out who will do what and when.

The draft strategy and online submission form are available at www.whanganui.govt.nz/haveyoursay. Hard copies are available from Whanganui District Council, Whanganui & Partners, Davis Central City Library and Gonville Café Library.

Submissions close at 5pm on Friday, June 21.