Multi-sector group launched to reignite local economy

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Published: 27 May 2020

Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen has formed a new collaborative panel to help reignite the local economy after COVID-19.

The new ‘Reignition Panel’ brings together a diverse range of community representatives that reflect and articulate the goals and aspirations of different sectors to encourage ‘blue sky’ and innovative thinking, and provide a platform to test new ideas with a focus on reigniting and returning the district to better after COVID-19.

The panel will work over the next four weeks to develop a reignition strategy, which will outline objectives and actions to enable all communities within the district to recover and prosper in a post COVID-19 world.

The panel consists of representatives of industry, the rural economy, iwi, youth, social services and council. It includes: Mayor Nigel Bowen, Gary Rooney, Grace Scarsbrook, Liz Nolan, Peter Burt, William Rolleston, Karl Jackson, Nicky Donkers, Keith Shaw and Nigel Davenport. Aoraki Development is acting as secretariat for the panel with additional support from Timaru District Council staff as part of its civil defence recovery function.

Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen, said that the aim of the panel is to take care of our people, our place and re-ignite the local economy across business, social and cultural activities and needs, while ensuring full alignment to council activities.

“As part of reigniting our economy it’s important that we gain and maintain a District wide, multi-sector awareness of the challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19,” he said.

“No one part of society would be able to lead us out of what’s likely to be one of the biggest economic and social challenges we will face in our lifetimes. While this has been widely reported as a once in 100-year event we see this as offering  a once in 100-year opportunity to reimagine and revitalise our great district by being bold and inclusive.

“By getting representatives from a wide range of sectors together into one room we’ll be able to work together and align our activities for the benefit of everyone. Individually the panel members wear a number of different hats to ensure we have as wide a community reach as possible as we tap into their knowledge, experience and networks.

“It will also promote positivity, highlighting our successes as a district and what we have to offer people who want to visit, live or work here, or establish new businesses.

“To ensure we make this a success we’ve got to hit the ground running, that’s why I’m setting an ambitious goal to have the strategy in place within four weeks. With this in place we’ll have a roadmap of how we can all work together for the good of the district.”

The panel held its first meeting last week, where they were given a detailed economic update from Infometrics which provided a view of the current state of the economy and forecasts of where we could be in the future.

The panel also discussed a number of current and anticipated areas of priority which will help inform the preparation of the reignition strategy in coming weeks.

“Timaru District is an amazing place to call home, and we have the right fundamentals in place to weather this storm. This panel will work to ensure that we all align our efforts to ensure we continues to grow and thrive in this changed world,” said Bowen.

Last updated: 23 Jun 2020