Horizons Regional Council begins recovery phase as part of their COVID-19 response

Horizons Regional Council has begun recovery planning for both the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MWCDEM) Group and Council’s functions. 

Horizons chief executive Michael McCartney says recovery for the region will be a long-term project.

“This event will likely have far reaching economic and social recovery needs. We will be working with our colleagues in central and local government to progress recovery,” says Mr McCartney. 

“We are conscious of the opportunity recovery presents to not only think about the short term but also the longer term opportunities for sustainable, resilient communities, and the environment we live and work in.

“Central government is working to identify measures for economic recovery. The region is in the process of setting up an economic taskforce comprising skills from business, Māori, economic development, and local and central government.

“For Horizons Regional Council, to date our focus has been on delivering essential services, including our ability to respond to a parallel emergency event such as a flood or earthquake, operating our Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC), passenger transport, and emergency consent processing and pollution response for serious environmental incidents. 

“We are now turning our attention to what else we can bring online, while ensuring we meet the pandemic alert level guidelines and the areas they’re applicable to.

“There will be a structured method to what is operational and when as we may still need to divert staff to other areas, as well as wider scale programmes such as regional recovery.”

Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell says following Parliament enacting the COVID-19 (urgent measures) Legalisation Act 2020 to remove the need for councils to have a physical quorum, Council will hold their first virtual meeting since the lockdown tomorrow at 10.30am. 

“This meeting will be livestreamed through Horizons’ Facebook page,” says Cr Keedwell.
“Agenda items will include a paper around our 2020-21 Annual Plan and how this may proceed under the current pandemic environment. Councils are being urged to carefully consider any major financial decisions to avoid situations that could hinder response and future recovery efforts.”