Economic development agency Whanganui & Partners is fully focused on managing the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and positioning Whanganui for recovery.
Whanganui & Partners' Chief Executive Mark Ward says the Whanganui & Partners team is fully operational thanks to remote working plans put in place before the lockdown. The team is working to mitigate the damage to the local economy and also lay the groundwork for recovery.
“We’ve reached out to hundreds of local businesses in order to identify consistent challenges they’re facing. We’re also making sure everyone is accessing the support available from the central government and from Whanganui & Partners’ delivery of the Regional Business Partners programme.”
“We’re also working closely with our partners Te Manu Atatū, the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce and Mainstreet, to ensure their members are supported and to align our strategies for the recovery.”
Whanganui & Partners is in coordination with the Central Economic Development Agency to produce a series of free webinars providing timely business advice. The first webinar, featuring Russell Bell from Balance Consulting, was held recently and focused on business continuity planning.
Ward says despite expecting a slow economic recovery nation-wide, he is optimistic about how Whanganui will fare in the long run.
“We’re better positioned than a lot of other regions in terms of having a resilient economy,” Ward said. “We have some structural advantages, such as a higher than average percentage of our workforce that is able to continue working though the lockdown, either as essential workers or working from home.”
“We also have a strong manufacturing sector, which is being supported by a weak New Zealand dollar. We're expecting opportunities to open up particularly in the food and beverage sector, which will benefit both our agribusiness and related manufacturing businesses.”
Ward says another area of opportunity will be in education and training.
“There will be a demand for practical, career-oriented reskilling and upskilling. Our polytech and private training providers will play a significant role in getting people work-ready in the new economy, and Whanganui & Partners will coordinate closely between industry and training providers to ensure the offerings match the needs of our employers.”
“As we continue our business outreach, we are preparing programmes and campaigns that make the most of our region’s strengths coming out of lock-down. Keep supporting our local businesses as we all get through this time together.”
For resources and support, including webinars, visit Whanganui & Partners’ COVID-19 resource page: whanganuiandpartners.nz/covid-19
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