Keeping ourselves, our district and our country healthy and safe were top of mind when we first entered level 4 lockdown. Now, as we begin transitioning back toward a near-normal way of living, our focus is shifting from survival to recovery.
It is increasingly obvious that Covid-19 has had a major impact on our economy, which will need a lot of support to get back up and running. Our local businesses and services need immediate patronage.
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I have been in discussion with members from our business community over the past month, listening to their needs and concerns. Last week we celebrated the launch of Whangarei District Love It Local, a joint promotion of local businesses and services by the business community, Northland Inc, Whangarei District Council and the Northland Chamber of Commerce. I fully support this campaign.
Before Covid-19, one of the biggest challenges for our district was managing growth – a pretty good problem to have. Suddenly, Covid-19 has presented us with far more serious challenges.
The country faces a recession that will have an impact on our district. Growth will pause and priorities need to be reset. We know families and businesses are hurting and we are very conscious of the challenges, as well as the role we can play in the recovery.
Council is here to serve the community. Our challenge for the reset is to rebuild our district in a way that uses Whangārei's strengths, protects the environment and increases resilience.
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We'll seize any new opportunities that come our way and welcome new ways of doing business.
We will need to respond quickly to the immediate needs of our community. Council's 10-point Economic Recovery Response aims to ease some of the stress and financial hardship faced by businesses and households. A key part of the response is a review of the planned rates increase for 2020-21, before finalising the budget and setting the rates for next year.
We also plan to assist sectors impacted by Covid-19. Towards the end of this week, we will be asking you to give us your feedback on the changes to our Annual Plan – which looks quite different to what we had before Covid-19.
Please read the Consultation Document, discuss it with your friends, colleagues and family, and send us your feedback to help us navigate the difficult times we face, together