Councillors invigorated by Forum

Elected members from across the Horizons Region gathered to discuss changing perceptions at the annual Regional Territorial Authorities Forum in Ruapehu on 19-20 October.

The theme stemmed from work underway to lift investment, employment and incomes through implementation of Central Government’s Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Growth Study and discussion focused largely on working together.

Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy, who spoke at the Forum, expressed his commitment to the Region and spoke of ministers’ enthusiasm to return for the launch of its regional growth action plan early next year.

“What’s good for your communities is good for the region. Importantly, you have got the visibility of three ministers keen to help you deliver on the profitability of this region. My view is that economic growth will be the pillar to changing perceptions,” he said.

Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon shared this view, saying the Forum provided an opportunity for members to share ideas, identify common challenges and work collaboratively to unlock the Region’s potential.

“If we truly want to change perceptions of our region, we need to work together. This Forum provides an invaluable opportunity for elected members to connect with one another and have those conversations that are going to move this Region forward,” he said.

“It was great to see such a high level of togetherness across our region’s councils. There’s a real sense of excitement around how we can best work together for the benefit of our communities.”

Over the course of the two days, delegates also heard from leading financial journalist and editor Bernard Hickey, president of LGNZ Lawrence Yule, lead for tribal economies with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Tahu Che Wilson on the Māori economy and Geoff Henley and John Hutchings from HenleyHutchings on the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Growth Study.

The Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Growth Study identifies eight key opportunities and three key enablers that are currently being explored by business, iwi, councils and central government representatives as the region works to develop an action plan for growth.

The forum, held at Chateau Tongariro was sponsored by CentrePort Wellington and supported by the region’s eight councils: Manawatu District Council, Palmerston North City Council, Horowhenua District Council, Rangitikei District Council, Tararua District Council, Wanganui District Council, Ruapehu District Council and Horizons Regional Council.