Have your say on our updated Economic Development strategy

Published: 22 May 2023

An updated strategy designed to support the Ashburton District’s economic wellbeing has been released by the Council, and feedback is being sought from the community.

Chief Executive Hamish Riach said Council already plays an important role in economic development, through initiatives like the Mayors Taskforce For Jobs and by providing things like infrastructure, but the updated strategy would see the Council more actively partnering with the community to drive new economic initiatives.

“Supporting Ashburton District’s economic development is critical to the wellbeing of our community, as a strong and vibrant local economy provides our residents with more opportunities, higher wages and an improved standard of living.”

Council’s current economic development strategy was developed in 2017, has largely been implemented and was due for review.

Mr Riach says the updated strategy was developed after engaging with more than 30 groups, businesses and individuals over the past 18 months, and it focuses on three key areas:

  • Living, working and learning here
  • Doing business here
  • Visiting and playing here

Within each of these three areas, the Council has set goals and proposed actions that include everything from providing support for young people entering the workforce, to attracting additional investment to the district and better marketing Mid Canterbury as a tourism destination.

“We think the actions we’ve identified are achievable and will produce real economic benefits for our district over the long term, but the updated strategy is still a draft at this point, and we want input from businesses and our residents about what we’re proposing and how they see the Council’s role in economic development.”

Mr Riach said the strategy also acknowledges the current challenges facing the district.

“A lot has happened in the past three years, but we’re fortunate to live in a district that has been buffered from the covid storm by its strong primary sector. We need to play to our strengths while encouraging new business, new workers and new residents, because we’re in a great spot.

“Ultimately, if we can get this strategy right, it will open up business opportunities and attract more investment into the district.”

Consultation on the draft opens today (Monday 22 May), with submissions being accepted up until 5pm on Sunday 18 June.

The draft strategy, consultation document and online feedback form can be found at ashburtondc.govt.nz/haveyoursay

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