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Key Issue One: Economic Development

Establishing a single economic development agency

Council is seeking to improve economic development and tourism. Currently, Manawatu District Council and Palmerston North City Council, purchase economic development services from Vision Manawatu and tourism services from Destination Manawatu. Manawatu District Council also funds Feilding Promotion. In total, Manawatu District Council provides just over $658,000 of ratepayers money on these services each year.

The Councils are proposing to get more focus and coordination by purchasing economic development and tourism services from a single agency. The Councils consider a Council Controlled Organisation is the best form of agency to deliver these services.

Our preferred option is to establish and purchase services from a single economic development agency (Council Controlled Organisation).

Establishing a Council Controlled Organisation to deliver economic development, tourism and District promotion services is our preferred option. We think purchasing services from a single agency will bring about more focus and coordination of these services without reducing the current the level of service. The amount of funding provided is unlikely to change in 2015/16 so will not impact on the proposed rates increase. However, if a single agency is established then Council does plan to review the level of funding one year after the agency is set up. Any significant proposed changes in funding will be consulted on as part of the 2016/17 Annual Plan process. There may be some transition costs associated with establishing the Council Controlled Organisation. However it is anticipated these will be covered by existing budgets.

The other option is maintaining status quo and purchasing services from multiple agencies.

This is not our preferred option as we believe an increased focus and coordination of services can be better provided by the single agency option. As with the single agency, the amount of funding provided in the status quo option is unlikely to change in 2015/16, so therefore, will not impact on the proposed rates increase. Council will also review the level of funding and services currently purchased from contracted agencies.

Both Councils are consulting on the proposal to establish a single economic development agency, which will be a Council Controlled Organisation. However the decisions are not reliant on each other, each Council will make its own decision. If Palmerston North City Council decides not to proceed then Manawatu District Council will revisit this proposal.

More information can be found in the Statement of Proposal.

Our preferred option is to establish and purchase services from a single economic development agency (Council Controlled Organisation).

The other option is maintaining status quo and purchasing services from multiple agencies.