Remember the goal? Getting 10,000 extra people living in Southland in 10 years. More than seven years into the decade-long mission, more than 9000 new people have arrived in the region, according to Great South.

In late 2015, the Southland Regional Development Strategy [SoRDS] announced its aim of attracting 10,000 new people to Southland by 2025.

Tom Campbell, who led SoRDS through its formative years and is now Invercargill’s deputy mayor, said he was pleased with progress, but Covid-19 border closures had impacted on overseas migrants and Southern Institute of Technology international numbers.

“The highest level objective [of SoRDS] was to increase the population by 10,000 over 10 years. That was the number of people we needed to replace the number retiring,” Campbell said. The other key focus of SoRDS was to diversify Southland’s economy and a significant amount of work had been done, he said.

SoRDS had been the catalyst for numerous projects, including Invercargill’s redeveloped central city, the new hotel and aquaculture, he said.

“I think a lot of these things would have happened anyway, but not on that timescale, it just gave everything a push.

“I think Southland can be proud of the fact we did develop a strategy, we worked together, so many people co-operated, and we ended up with a strategy that has increased the population almost to the target we set, and two years early.”

To continue reading full Stuff article go here