New Invercargill city councillor Tom Campbell has taken two clear messages to Southland’s long-term planners – champion housing progress and don’t let planning for a post-Tiwai future distract from the need to do everything possible to support the smelter staying.

Campbell had status beyond his council position when he spoke from the floor at a Beyond 2025 Southland progress report in Invercargill on Thursday.

He is the former manager of the Tiwai smelter and headed the Southland Regional Development Strategy (SoRDS), launched in 2015

That work is now being continued by the Beyond 2025 project conducted through Great South, which has been contracted to lead long-term planning for the region as part of the Government’s Southland Just Transition workplan – a project to respond to the now somewhat abated prospect of a smelter closure.

Campbell said the biggest gap in the original SoRDS strategy had been that it did not sufficiently consider housing.

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