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Horowhenua's economic development now guided by strategy

Horowhenua's economic development now guided by strategy

Horowhenua now has a visionary but practical strategy to strengthen and grow the District's economy.

Horowhenua's Economic Development Strategy 2014-2017 identifies challenges, priorities, actions and initiatives required to achieve increased investment, more jobs, higher skills, increased household income and an enhanced reputation of the District.

The 29-page strategy has been created by Horowhenua District Council together with local business leaders and it has received unanimous support from Horowhenua District Councillors.

Mayor Brendan Duffy says the District must build its economy.

"We can’t leave our economic well being to chance. The prosperity of our community is at stake," Mayor Duffy said.

"Here we have a blueprint to build a well-oiled economic engine that will drive us forward. As the strategy spells out, we are lucky and blessed with opportunity."

Horowhenua District Council economic development manager Shanon Grainger says Horowhenua already has the backbone of a varied and productive economy and offers a lifestyle set to become more desirable.

"New Zealand cities are rapidly changing and are creating unique opportunities for provinces to once again play a complementary role in New Zealand's economic future."

Mr Grainger says Horowhenua can lead the way and the key is to move economic development to the centre of local business and community leaders' decisions and actions.

The Economic Development Strategy sets out five priorities: that Horowhenua become a regional centre for business; maximise the sustainable and productive use of natural resources; support infrastructure and policy that enables economic performance; partner high quality education, training and workforce services with local enterprise; and become a vibrant, sustainable and prosperous place to live.

This would be achieved through a series of actions and initiatives such as providing priority support to key sectors including food and agribusiness, back-office services, aged services, as well as construction, niche manufacturing and engineering.

Research would be carried out to better understand the emerging economic potential of the District's natural resources.

Options to significantly increase access and widespread use of high-speed internet would be investigated.

There was also a need to strengthen and encourage supported-employment programmes and service providers to help businesses assist more locals into full-time employment.

Another initiative was to create a Retail Transformation Strategy to promote investment into the coordinated redevelopment of Horowhenua's key retail areas.

And, community facilities along with tourism activities and events that appealed to young families and ageing lifestylers would also be fostered and supported.

Mayor Duffy says what is required in the Strategy is not complex, but it also won't be easy.

"The Council is committed to its role in this strategy, but needs all of us to play our part and pull together. As a determined and traditional community we will need to adjust our attitude and outlook to be attractive to a wider group of people," he said.

"This strategy is our way forward for more meaningful jobs, investment opportunities for our businesses, connections to the broader world and general prosperity for all of us."

ENDS

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