Planning for our region’s future is underway. We are making plans and taking action to drive Southland into a positive and productive future – no matter what is thrown at us, and if we have learnt anything over the last couple of years, we now know to expect the unexpected.

Beyond 2025 Southland is a forward-thinking initiative aimed at promoting positive change in Southland. It’s a plan that will be produced mid-year with two key functions – to apply a long-term lens over the Just Transition planning currently underway (which is ensuring the region continues to thrive post the potential closure of Tiwai Aluminium Smelter), and to review the SoRDS work from 2015 (refresh the regional development strategy).

This comprehensive plan is being developed in collaboration with a significant number of stakeholders including government agencies, councils, community groups, iwi, and businesses. Its primary focus is to drive economic development, foster innovation, and create sustainable communities in Southland – all while acknowledging changing climate regulations and our people.

It also has a key goal to acknowledge other excellent work already happening and ensure we are all aligned under the Beyond 2025 umbrella.

It’s vital Southland clearly articulates what is important to us and it’s reflected in our shared approach to ensuring the reasons why we live here are maintained and enhanced.

While we acknowledge the region’s engine room, the 14,000 businesses that have kept our economy ticking over during the pandemic, we’re also keen to explore the development of new industries and business opportunities. This recognises what has been our traditional economic drivers in Southland as agriculture and NZAS are simply not enough to sustain long-term growth and prosperity, particularly with the uncertain long-term future of NZAS.

As such, we’re working with key partners to explore new avenues for economic development, such as renewable energy, aquaculture, advanced manufacturing, and high-value services, especially those that maximise Southland’s natural advantages (e.g., climate / location) for regional benefit.

Another key component of Beyond 2025 is the promotion of sustainable communities as we work towards a net zero future. This involves supporting agencies with the development of affordable housing, improving and supporting community connectivity and encouraging sustainable land use practices. These initiatives are aimed at making Southland a more liveable and attractive place for locals and visitors alike.

The team driving the development of Beyond 2025 are locals, and we have a really good understanding of who we are and what’s important to us. It’s essential to us that the plan is developed by our people, for our people.

Many people have already been involved in our process to date and we are extremely appreciative of their time and insights.