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Marlborough’s Initial Economic Recovery Response Plan Unveiled

A first phase economic recovery response plan has been released detailing 60 projects and initiatives to offset the initial impacts of COVID-19 on Marlborough businesses and jobs.

The plan covering May-July has been developed by The Economic Action Marlborough TEAM group which brought together Marlborough industry, iwi and business organisation representatives, supported by the Marlborough District Council.

TEAM chair Deputy Mayor Nadine Taylor says some of the 60 projects are already underway such as a Make it Marlborough marketing campaign encouraging people to support and spend local, targeted support for domestic tourism promotion, professional business support and advice to Marlborough’s SMEs.

“Other projects and initiatives which TEAM is recommending to central Government for early potential advancement include developing spare land to the east of Wairau Hospital for housing, Sanford’s marine extract facility at Riverlands, the Picton ferry terminal, back up berth, log yard and rail upgrades and the combined Marlborough colleges campus build.

“TEAM group is also recommending Government support for other projects including MDC Smart Services connecting marine farms to sensors and the Ngā Wairau o Ruatere cultural and heritage centre celebrating iwi’s early links in Marlborough. These are all projects which could proceed in the next few months or have elements such as design that could be advanced.”

“We note $1.6b in last week’s Budget for skills training and want to see some of this used to support redeployment into the wine industry and Iwi-tourism partnership and training.”

Councillor Taylor says the TEAM plan is not a stand-alone document.

“It links to the enormous effort going on from central Government, via wage support, ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects and other spending, including that from Council, to keep cashflow going in Marlborough and people in jobs.’’

She says the TEAM group has worked rapidly over recent weeks to bring together the

first phase economic recovery response plan. The focus is helping Marlborough businesses through the three months to July. A second, longer-term recovery response plan is due out in spring.

TEAM commissioned an Infometrics study to provide insights into how the pandemic is impacting on Marlborough’s economy. (See summary below)

“This confirms the greatest challenges lie with our tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors, construction, and within our CBDs in Picton and Blenheim – and considerable first phase response is focused there.”

Councillor Taylor says the economic impacts on Marlborough which Infometrics projects through to March 2021 can’t be sugar coated.

“We know we can’t save every business or job. We are already seeing youth unemployment, in particular, rising and even though it all starts from a very low base, Infometrics predicts overall unemployment in Marlborough may more than double by March next year.

“That said, the Infometrics report was completed prior to last week’s Budget and a range of other stimulatory spending. Its forecast doesn’t reflect the modified extension of the wage subsidy, the skills training boost or other Budget measures. Nor does it include what we may see from Marlborough’s bid to Government for $334m for Council and private sector ‘shovel ready’ projects. Or Council’s $865,000 package to support local, promote domestic visitors, free CBD parking for a time and other immediate economic stimulatory measures.

“It also doesn’t include any of the benefits that will come from the TEAM group’s initial plan which includes a host of other initiatives. We are also about to start on a second longer-term plan which will have a wider focus and reach across Marlborough industries, sectors and stakeholders.”

Councillor Taylor says Marlborough will need to work collaboratively to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“As Infometrics acknowledges, Marlborough’s diverse economy will help blunt the worst of the recession. Council has already stepped up to the plate and we will work hard as a region to get our share of the benefits from announced and yet to emerge Government measures.”

“We now have a first phase plan to take some of the edges off the economic impact of the pandemic and a community which has come together as team of 50,000. We will come through this challenge by working together.”

Summary: Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Marlborough District - Early Estimates – Infometrics April 2020

IndicatorMarlborough District New Zealand
GDP % change, year to March 2021-7.5% -8.0%
Job losses to March 2021-2,646-250,522
Unemployment rate March 20218.2% (year to Mar 2020 – 2.8%)9.1%
Loss total earnings to March 2021-$137m-$14,191m
Residential construction % change to March 2021-34.5%-18.8%
Non-residential construction-5.5%-18.3%

The response plan and Infometrics report are posted here: https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/civil-defence-emergency-management/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/the-economic-action-marlborough-team-group

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