Over the last few months, we have seen so many people in our community step up to fight the battle against COVID-19, and we have won. We could be the first country in the world to beat this pandemic, which is an amazing achievement for our small nation.
And the virus is all but gone from our community. The sacrifices we have all made has meant our lives have returned to a new normal much quicker than we expected. Well done everyone!
But we still have a big job to do to recover from the economic impact of Covid Lockdown. We also have to recover from the impact the drought has had on our farming community. It is our primary industry community who will lead Hawke’s Bay’s post Covid economic recovery.
We are yet to understand the full impact the crisis has had across all our economic sectors. We do know that industries such as tourism, retail, hospitality, the arts, accommodation, agriculture, construction, viticulture, need all the support we can give them. Our council has developed an Recovery Plan to help keep our businesses trading and our people employed.
I have set up a Mayor’s Taskforce with leaders across all industries to identify the constraints to recovery and find the opportunities to maintain and grow our economic base. We are working with the Ministry of Social Development to re-deploy people from one industry to another and to support other sectors.
Central government’s investment will help, with their commitment to build 200 new homes; invest $15 million in local roading (220 jobs); establishing a new employment hub in Hastings (50 jobs); and $500,000 to drought relief. Council is investigating every opportunity and pitching for Government funding for Hastings’ projects.
Our council is bringing forward $130 million of capital expenditure: road and footpath upgrades and CBD improvements to help stimulate our economy. Through our COVID-19 Relief Budget, we are also investing $150,000 to promote our city and town centre businesses.
To support our arts community, we are focused on delivering events, performances, installations and exhibitions to bring people together to enjoy the arts and be part of a vibrant and exciting Hastings’ vision.
We are also working with our region’s film office, Eastern Screen Alliance, to explore a new and exciting opportunity for Hastings to become a film production destination. While other film producing countries are struggling to recover from the virus, we have the land available for film studios, we have a Covid-safe environment, beautiful outstanding natural landscapes, beaches, wineries and passionate hard working people who are working to attract this new industry to our region.
Our council is supporting a HB Winegrower’s Association initiative to set up a Pop-Up Cellar Door Experience in our city — a cool place to showcase our region’s outstanding wines to visitors and locals alike.
We are working with HB Tourism and our local operators to promote our region as a premiere wedding destination, a great winter escape, a family-friendly location for the school holidays and a place to hold large outdoor music concerts.
Everyone can help with our recovery; tell your friends and family about our fabulous region, what we have to offer and what you love about Our Place. Kiwis love to travel and you can help them choose to visit us.
This is our chance to show the rest of New Zealand why we live in beautiful Hastings, Hawkes Bay. We are all in this together and together we will keep Our Place rocking!