'Our Asks' calls for government investment in our region
Palmerston North City and Manawatū District Councils have joined together creating ‘Our Asks’; a Manawatū region deal manifesto asking the future Government to commit resources into our major projects.
The document has been circulated to all key political parties and we are in regular talks with party candidates seeking their commitment to the potential growth and work going on in our region.
Our Manawatū region faces the same issues such as health, education, policing, crime levels etc. as the rest of New Zealand. It is important that we continue to add our voice to these causes as the general election approaches. As well, it is important that we profile the need for national investment into our high performing region. We have had strong economic growth over the past 5 years, increasing GDP by 19.9%, compared to 14.4% growth nationally. However, we have largely done this by ourselves with almost no shovel ready funding, acceleration or targeted Government assistance in recent years. Imagine how much faster we could grow our economy and what we could achieve together with central government backing.
Palmy and Manawatu District Councils have joined together creating ‘Our Asks’ a Manawatu region deal manifesto, asking the future Government to commit resources into our major projects. This document has been circulated to all key political parties and we are in regular talks with party candidates seeking their commitment to the potential growth and work going on in our region.
The number one project is Te Utanganui – Central NZ Distribution Hub (CNZDH) and supporting intermodal transport connections. It builds on existing distribution and logistics services and the PN Airport. CNZDH encompasses several infrastructure projects to create the primary hub for central NZ, supporting the transport and logistics centres of south Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury. These projects include: KiwiRail Regional Freight Hub, Manawatu-Tararua Highway, Otaki to North of Levin Expressway, Manawatu Industrial Park, Ruapheu Aeropark, Feilding’s Kawakawa Agri-business precinct, PN Airport masterplan and the Regional Freight Ring Road programme. We are asking incoming Government to endorse CNZDH as part of the NZ Supply Chain Strategy, invest in the KiwiRail Freight Hub and critical infrastructure needs, plus a commitment to the regional freight ring roads, to enable private investment in the CNZDH.
Other projects seeking Government support are our goal to become NZ’s food innovation capital with Massey University, Fonterra Global Research, Crown Research institutes and FoodHQ etc. Our new Food Strategy identifies unique strengths and opportunities regarding food, with a focus on future sustainable nutrition. Our region is also committed to help deliver on the government’s climate mitigation and adaptation plans but believe the long term targets are impossible without reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme, which as its stands currently merely reallocate the cost of emissions reductions, rather than reducing total gross emissions.
Manawatu is also seeking a reassessment of the costs, timeframes and risks of the current Earthquake Prone Building legislation, given the costs to strengthen large buildings is usually more than the current value of the land and buildings. If nothing changes many building owners will simply walk away from their buildings, leaving our communities to deal with the issue under current legislation.
Our final request is to focus eco-tourism investment into regions such as ours, opening up new opportunities, particularly the Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge area. This includes endorsing (when appropriate based on evidence), applying for UNESCO geo-park and World Heritage status.
This ‘Our Asks’ are at regional level which when completed and supported by central Government, will grow our potential faster and have a trickle down benefits for everyone.
Mayor Helen Worboys