A regional economic taskforce has been created to collaborate and provide a voice for the region in talking to central government as part of post-Covid-19 recovery.

The taskforce consists of iwi, business, local and central government leaders and economic development agency representatives.

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said economic development agencies' representatives will provide a strategic, regional lens, complementing the work being done by individual councils.

The taskforce's first meeting will take place in the next week. Photo / Bevan Conley
The taskforce's first meeting will take place in the next week. Photo / Bevan Conley

Lead Team member of Accelerate25, a regional economic growth programme, Pahia Turia, said the global spread of Covid-19 would have a long-lasting impact over the coming years.


"At the same time, opportunities will arise as we adapt, reshape and revitalise the Horizons Region," Turia said.

An initial budget of $20,000 has been made available by Accelerate25 to kickstart the taskforce.

Turia said the taskforce would have its first meeting in the next week or so and that overall governance of the taskforce sat with the regional chief executives.

Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said collectively, the region's seven territorial authorities and regional council have already submitted several hundred million dollars' worth of "shovel ready" infrastructure and environment projects to be considered as part of central government's budget process.

"In order to develop actions to effectively address the impacts on our region's communities, a robust data reporting and monitoring programme is required," Smith said.

"A shared understanding of the impacts at a macro level, will provide a foundation for the Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce to work from. This work will build on the strong collaboration and cooperation we already have as regional leaders, providing new ways to seize upon opportunities as they arise."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website
Regional economic taskforce members

Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney, Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith, Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall, Tararua mayor Tracey Collins, Nga Wairiki-Ngaati Apa and Whanganui & Partners board chair Pahia Turia, PNCC economic committee member Ruma Karitiana, Central Economic Development Agency chief executive Linda Stewart, CB Norwood Limited chief executive Tim Myers, Ministry for Social Development Central Region regional commissioner Katie Brosnahan, Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment senior regional official Hannah Buchanan, Ruapehu District Council destination development manager Warren Furner, Accelerate25 programme director Craig Nash, Māori Economic Development Advisory Board chair and Ngā Wairiki Robin Hapi and Whanganui & Partners chief executive Mark Ward.