Council & City

City recovery plan

The full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Palmerston North may take some time to be fully understood. The pandemic is different from other emergency events experienced in New Zealand. There has been no damage to infrastructure, but the impacts are being felt by businesses, individuals, families, neighbourhoods, and organisations. We know that the economic and social impacts are likely to be significant and felt by the community long into the future.

What is recovery?

It’s the coordinated efforts and processes used to bring about the immediate, medium-term, and long-term holistic regeneration and enhancement of a community following an emergency.

Guidance from the National Emergency Management Agency suggests recovery should:

  • support cultural and physical well-being of individuals and communities
  • minimise the escalation of the consequences of the disaster
  • reduce future exposure to hazards and their associate risks – ie, build resilience
  • take opportunities to regenerate and enhance communities in ways that will meet future needs (across the social, economic, natural and built environments).

Planning for recovery in Palmerston North

The overall goal is to deliver on our long-term goals and bounce back by building on our strengths and responding creatively to the current challenges.

The government has encouraged councils to assist with economic recovery by accelerating capital projects and continuing to deliver services to stimulate the local economy. We endorse this approach.

While the private sector may necessarily retrench, there is an opportunity for the public sector to assist with economic recovery. Council will continue to examine all its costs to ensure that services are delivered in the most effective manner possible.

Recovery also provides an opportunity for Council to show leadership by responding to government direction, understanding and supporting the work of other agencies, and working with strategic partners such as Rangitāne o Manawatū and CEDA as they fulfil their leadership roles in the city.

We're taking a staged approach to a planned recovery

Stage one: Recovery planning

This stage is complete. Our recovery plan commits to some immediate initiatives for city recovery and establishes the framework for a longer-term response. This is a living document that will be reviewed and updated in stages two and three.

Stage One actions focus on four areas of wellbeing: economic, cultural, social and environmental. In summary, these are:

Economic – facilitate new building, support local business, and promote efficient procurement and contractor relationships.

Cultural – promote more placemaking, encourage events, support users of our venues, and build community spirit.

Social – support community welfare and active communities initiatives.

Environmental – promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the use of active and public transport, and increase biodiversity.

Stage two: Review and update

Consideration of further new initiatives following the release of more national-led recovery initiatives and the availability of a complete picture of the impact of the pandemic on the city.

Stage three: Long-term recovery

Measures considered through the next long-term plan process (10 Year Plan 2021-31). 

Stage one actions

The actions for recovery align with the Local Government Act 2002 Wellbeing Framework. The plan addresses all four areas of wellbeing. However, due to the nature and effects of the pandemic, directs us to have a strong focus on economic recovery and social wellbeing.

Economic wellbeing

  • Facilitate new building/construction
  • Support local business
  • Support efficient procurement and contractor relationships

Cultural wellbeing

  • Promote placemaking
  • Encourage future events
  • Build community spirit

Social wellbeing

  • Support community welfare
  • Support active communities

Environmental wellbeing

  • Promote climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Promote the use of active and public transport
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Strengthen the relationship with Environment Network Manawatū

Actions to be considered in stages two and three

Council will investigate the following actions in the development of stage two and three (and the 10 Year Plan 2021-31):

  • Accelerate and bring forward the capital programme
  • Align the accelerated capital programme to contractor availability
  • Develop legacy projects that deliver on Council’s strategic objectives and can be delivered by available contractors and create redeployment opportunities
  • Online portal for the development community
  • Subsidise outdoor dining infrastructure to support hospitality recovery
  • Plan for additional social and public housing
  • Legacy project: “Cloak of Tane” citywide planting programme
  • Investigate new central city environment hub
  • Accelerate active transport projects and Urban Cycle Network Masterplan
  • Expand Green Corridors programme
  • Investigate investment in initiatives to improve housing quality