Mayor's Message: Project Kōkiri​ to help restart Nelson region's economy

25/06/2020 11:10am

Now we are in Alert Level 1, it is imperative we reinvigorate our regional economy as quickly as possible and that means working collectively like we never have before writes Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese.

Out and about over the weekend, it really did feel like Nelson Whakatū was coming back to life, with shops, cafes and restaurants open.

Having our thriving Nelson back in operation was a special milestone, and a reminder of how far we have come in the past few months.

But as we return to some resemblance of normality, Council remains acutely aware of the financial toll the COVID-19 shutdown has had on so many of our ratepayers.

Our support package has included a range of responses such as hardship provisions for ratepayers struggling to pay rates, rental relief for many Council lease and licence holders, and the establishment of a $200,000 Emergency Fund for community organisations.

As well as this targeted support, we took a careful look at the Annual Plan and made savings and have confirmed a net zero percent rates increase for the 2020-21 year.

We acknowledge the significant financial burden many of our ratepayers are facing and we are fortunate to have the choice to consider this option as a Council.

It is not by accident we are in this position, but the result of sound financial management of this Council.

Now we are in Alert Level 1, it is imperative we reinvigorate our regional economy as quickly as possible and that means working collectively like we never have before.

Hence the creation of Project Kōkiri (meaning to champion/promote or thrust forward) developed by regional leaders as the recovery and regeneration plan to provide clarity and action on our region’s economic restart.

Through Project Kōkiri, this region has submitted dozens of projects seeking Government support.

Projects that collectively would provide direct employment for over 2,500 people.

Projects that will not just provide a much-needed stimulus to our economy right now, but provide benefits for future generations of people living in Te Tauihu.

These projects support our ocean economy, water and food security, sustainable transport systems and affordable housing.

The impact of this virus was beyond our control, but what we can control is what we do next, and this will define how our response will be remembered for years to come.