15 October 2015
Councils support collaborative strategy
The Southland Regional Development Strategy launched today is the result of a strong working relationship between the councils, iwi, business and community groups in the region.
Southern mayors say this same cohesive action is the key to its on-going success.
Southland Regional Strategy [PDF, 7.3 MB]
With the primary focus on increasing population, the strategy calls for bold yet practical action to build a stronger, brighter future.
The strategy recognises there are negative perceptions of the region from those outside, and concludes that a gradual build-up of perceived positives is needed to outweigh negatives and produce the population growth and regional lifestyle people want.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the region can support a larger population and there would be benefits in doing so.
“In today’s digitally connected age people do not need to live close to their place of work. Those people who work remotely are one audience we can target through this strategy. We have the affordable housing, the lifestyle and the safe communities so with some smart promotion, Southland could become first option for people who want a good work-life balance.”
With this strategy local government is proving its agile enough to be the accelerator, not the handbrake, for enterprise and development, Mr Hicks said.
Southland District Mayor Gary Tong welcomed the report which he said provides a pathway forward for the region.
“This strategy tells us that focusing on population growth will mean not only more people, it will provide economic growth, skilled workers, a better lifestyle, and improved health, education and social services. It tells us we need to work together to achieve this; not just councils, but business, community, everyone.”
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the region has plenty to offer and this strategy will help it to achieve its potential.
“At the last census our population increased by 2.7 percent which was positive news for the retail sector, the events industry and our restaurants and accommodation providers. This development strategy will also help our city and our two territorial councils and the regional council of Southland to work together in the future.”
Environment Southland Chair Ali Timms said the strategy will provide opportunities for Southland.
“The strategy clearly shows that Southland has the potential for more diversity and growth. As the regional council, Environment Southland is committed to the sustainable management of our key natural resources to ensure region-wide and long-term benefits for all Southlanders.”
The next step will be the establishment of action teams to work on six different areas; urban renewal, ease of doing business, people attraction, business innovation and new industries, business extension and community enterprise.
The strategy was commissioned by the Mayoral Forum on behalf of the Southland community. It is available to the public at Council offices and libraries.