No Images? Click here

Welcome to the latest edition of Across the Region which features a number of significant events and news items that affect everyone in our Region.

In October you, our community, will get to have your say on who you would like as your representatives on the Regional Council. It is your chance to vote for those you feel would best serve you and the issues you feel passionate about. All constituencies in our Region will have contested elections except for Manawatū/Rangitikei in which only two candidates put their names forward for the two seats.

The role of elected Councillors is to set the strategic direction and monitoring policy for our Region. One of the election’s hottest topics is the implementation of our One Plan, which the Environmental Defence Society and Fish & Game have lodged declaration proceedings against us at the Environment Court over.

The One Plan incorporates an integrated policy response for water quality, water allocation and land management. It is a long term strategy that includes limiting the amount of nutrients entering rivers from intensive agriculture in certain catchments around the Region.

It is disappointing that these two organisations have chosen to utilise the court process, that may cost up to half a million dollars at the expense of our ratepayers. Particularly when existing dairy farms consented under the One Plan have already made significant reductions in the leaching of nitrogen at an average of nine per cent since 2014 - equating to approximately 100 tonnes of nitrogen reduction overall.

It is also important to note that work under the Manawatu River Leaders’ and Lake Horowhenua Accords, as well as our Sustainable Land Use Initiative, has also contributed to improving water quality through upgraded wastewater treatment plants, stream fencing to keep stock out of waterways, and riparian planting.

In fact, last summer most of the Region’s popular swimming spots recorded well, with sites such as the Manawatū River at the old Teachers’ College swimmable nearly 90 per cent of the time.

While the court proceedings are a distraction, we hope that it will add valuable data to Council’s own nine month evaluation review of the One Plan. This involves key stakeholders and is due at the end of the year.

Recently, I attended the launch of the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan in Wanganui. The Action Plan is based on the work carried out under the 2015 Regional Growth Study which considered the economic development opportunities in our Region. We further tested these opportunities with stakeholders, business leaders, iwi, and local, regional and central government to create the Plan and define specific activities to achieve a new level of prosperity across our Region. The Plan sets out the ‘how’ and ‘when’, our task is now to work collaboratively to make it happen.

Have a good read of this newsletter and if you want to find out more, visit our website,

Michael McCartney

CE – Horizons Regional Council


Above: Members of the Accelerate25 Lead Team with Ministers' Steven Joyce, Nathan Guy and Te Ururoa Flavell.



Help Shape our Region

Have you taken your opportunity to help shape our Region?

Postal voting for Local Body Elections closes on Saturday 8 October so make sure you have sent your voting forms in before then.

The Horizons Region comprises of six constituencies which are represented by 12 regional councillors; two from Horowhenua-Kairangā, four from Palmerston North, one from Tararua, two from Manawatū-Rangitikei, two from Wanganui, and one from Ruapehu.

If you have not yet received your voting papers, or you wish to make a special vote, please contact your local Electoral Officer at your City or District Council.

Find out more about the candidates standing in your constituency at



Midday Saturday
8 October 2016

Election Day

Voting papers must be hand delivered or posted to arrive by this date and time to be valid.


When: Friday 21 October, 10am-1pm

Where: Te Manawa, Palmerston North

As part of their induction programme, our new Council will attend the Horizons Regional Council Expo at Te Manawa, Palmerston North on 21 October. This event includes hands-on activities and presentations from all areas of our organisation, and is open to the public from 10am – 1pm. There will also be three lunchtime seminars on native fish, weeds to watch out for, and City Reach.

Mark this day in your diary now.


In August this year, Economic Minister Steven Joyce, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell launched the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan, alongside Regional leaders in Whanganui.

In 2015, a Regional Growth Study commissioned by Central Government, highlighted emerging opportunities in fields such as tourism, aged care and business outsourcing, as well as scope to build on the Manawatū-Whanganui Region’s existing strengths in the primary sector.

As a result, the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan has been developed by business leaders, iwi, hapu, and councils in partnership with Central Government.

The Action Plan identifies tangible opportunities and strategies across all sectors that will enable the acceleration of social and economic growth in the Region by 2025.

Accelerate25 Lead Team Facilitator and Horizons Regional Council CE Michael McCartney said the Action Plan is a balanced portfolio that will contribute to social, cultural, economic and environmental prosperity.

“Our Region has so much to offer, we are resource-rich, full of promise and our people are determined and hard working. The Action Plan will be about increasing job opportunities and quality of life in the Region by connecting people, business, iwi and our environment,” said Mr McCartney.

“That said there is a lot of work still to be done. The Action Plan is the blueprint for our Region’s growing economy and it is only by working collaboratively can we achieve regional prosperity.”


Accelerate25 Video

Accelerate25 is the business brand, and is led by a governance group made up from a mixture of business and iwi leaders, two local government reps, and the facilitator. This Lead Team will continue to work as implementation of the Action Plan gets underway.

To watch a highlights video from the day, visit

To find out more about some of the announcements made in Whanganui and throughout the Region earlier this month, visit


Quality care and lifestyle for older people is seen as a key opportunity for the Manawatū-Whanganui Region, as outlined in the Economic Action Plan.

Horowhenua District Council will be undertaking a pilot project to address the growing aged population in our Region. The project will address how services are delivered and made more accessible for older people, and the cost of living for older people. It will also look to improve the quality of life for older people and transform Levin into an inclusive lifestyle centre specialising in innovation.

“This funding from government is an endorsement of what we are trying to achieve and will go a long way in supporting those in our community who are looking for innovative solutions when it comes to aged care support,” said Horowhenua District Council Economic Development Manager, Shanon Grainger.


Above: Minister Nathan Guy makes funding announcement for aged care in Levin.


“Here in Horowhenua we are proud of this fantastic initiative and believe it could be rolled out to the wider Region and throughout New Zealand over time.”

To find out more visit


It has been just over one year since the June 2015 storm hit parts of the Horizons Region and caused widespread damage for many. Heavy rainfall, flooding and erosion affected the Region’s farmers, however Government’s assistance package has aided in the relief and recovery.

While in the Region for the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan launch, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy visited a farm in Turakina to see first hand how the package has been put into practice.

The Government provided an assistance package for affected farmers totalling $1.68 million and made up of contingency funding for rural on-farm infrastructure repair, support for Regional Councils’ resilience initiatives and business resilience activities.

A recent report on Government assistance to farmers shows that good results were achieved. The worst hit farms have undergone on-farm infrastructure repair such as accessing and fencing, and removal of silt and debris.

Horizons Chairman, Bruce Gordon felt one of the factors behind getting farmers back to business quickly was the collaborative work carried out by each of the supporting agencies.


Above: A Manawatū farm is damaged by flooding in June 2015

“The Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry of Civil Defence, Horizons and local Rural Support Trusts all worked well together to get farmers back to normality.”

The floods have also prompted many farmers to consider options to reduce the impact of heavy rain events on their land.

“Our land management staff have been, and will continue to work with farmers to look at ways to reduce sediment loss to rivers and decrease erosion on their land,” says Mr Gordon.

To date over 640 Whole Farm Plans, covering 475,000 hectares of our Region’s hill country have been created by Horizons under the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) programme.

“By implementing changes recommended in their Whole Farm Plan, farmers can see considerable environmental benefits, in a sustainable manner.”


While visiting Palmerston North in August, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce made a number of announcements which will directly benefit the city.

First of which was the next stage in the development of a Regional Ring Road for Palmerston North. The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will progress the project through a strategic business case process which will see them work with local councils and businesses to assess the Regional Ring Road’s viability for investment.

The road would connect the North East Industrial Zone to the Manawatū Gorge, Bulls and to the state highway network towards Wellington. It would also link to the Longburn Industrial Park.

Palmerston North is a major logistics hub for the lower North Island and the ring road will aid in the distribution of goods across New Zealand.

Meanwhile, AgResearch and Massey University will jointly build New Zealand’s largest agri-food research centre in the FoodHQ Precinct on the Massey University campus in Palmerston North.

Construction on the Food Science Research Centre is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, with AgResearch and Massey University investing $39 million into the project.

The Government will also provide $100,000 to help FoodHQ attract international research and development and connect directly to multi-national companies. FoodHQ partners have committed, in principle, to match the Government’s contribution.


Above: Minister Steve Joyce announces new agri-research centre in the Food-HQ precinct, Massey University Campus, Palmerston North.


The development and leveraging of FoodHQ has been identified as one of the key opportunities in the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan. Research at the Centre will focus on the agriculture sector from farm to consumer, and will support the training of under-graduate and post-graduate students.

“More than anything else, the work that has been and will continue to be undertaken under the banner of Accelerate25 demonstrates the importance of central and local government working together,” said Palmerston North Mayor, Grant Smith.

“What’s more, both the agri-food research centre and the Ring Road will provide a boost for our economy, both on a national and regional scale.”

“That said, we must remember that these announcements are just the beginning as there is a lot of hard work ahead of us,” said Mayor Smith

We need to keep pushing forward, taking up the opportunities which are presented to us and continue to collaborate amongst council, iwi and business representatives.”


There is nothing more delicious than a bag of freshly picked Ohakune carrots, and that is exactly what was presented to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce as a gesture of thanks for the Government’s commitment to extend the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail.

During Minister Joyce’s visit to Ohakune on August 12, he made an announcement on behalf of the Prime Minister that Government would set aside $2 million to extend the cycle trail from Turoa to Ohakune. The proposed new trail will be partially funded through the National Cycleway Fund, and has been identified as a priority in the recently released Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan.

The total cost of the extension is likely to be between $4-5 million which means the local community will also need to contribute to the cost.

The proposed new alpine trail will be up to 20km long, a major drawcard for tourists due to its unique setting amongst the Central Plateau, and is expected to potentially boost the local economy by as much as $5.8 million in five years.

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron said that the Minister’s Accelerate25 Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan announcements are great news for Ruapehu and the Region.

“Due to Ruapehu’s comparative advantages in tourism and visitor services, Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has been acting as a lead agency in helping to identify regional tourism opportunities as part of the Accelerate25 programme. This leadership has been recognised as an important factor in the development of the Action Plan tourism and visitor services opportunity to this point,” Mayor Cameron said.


Above: Minister Steven Joyce accepts a bag of carrots as a gesture of thanks in Ohakune.


“In addition to the $2 million to extend the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail from Turoa to Ohakune the government has committed $100,000 to help prepare a ‘Destination, Marketing and Value Proposition’ for the Region that extends the market assessment work already undertaken by Visit Ruapehu.”

“This investment is a clear vote of confidence in RDC and our ratepayers who have overwhelmingly supported Council directing money into the economic development activity to take advantage of co-investment opportunities with Government.”

Mayor Cameron said Ruapehu is committed to being part of the strong, aligned leadership involving central, regional and local government, Māori and business that will be required within each opportunity and across the whole programme to deliver on the opportunities.

“Success will require connection and engagement from all stakeholders, and so I invite and encourage everyone to get on board with the Accelerate25 Action Plan, to take the Manawatū-Whanganui region forward into a new and exciting phase of growth and opportunities for all.”


While in the Horizons Region in August, Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy spent time visiting Ross Humphrey’s sheep and beef farm, near Cheltenham.

The visit highlighted the importance of collaboration and tapping into precision and ‘intelligent’ farming techniques for the Region’s farmers, in order to increase on farm profitability and productivity.

Horizons' Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) is one such programme farmers can access to identify opportunities for production improvements on their farms. To date over 640 Whole Farm Plans covering 475,000 hectares of our Region’s hill country have been created by Horizons. Each of these plans has farm scale soil and land resource information that can be used to optimise production in a sustainable way.

Horizons environmental manager – land, Grant Cooper believes there is real benefit in farmers working with Horizons to map soil on their land.

“The information sourced when soil mapping a farm will help identify areas for production improvements while also protecting vulnerable land,” he says.


Above: Minister Guy announces funding for primary sector initiatives near Cheltenham. 


“We can help suggest suitable alternative land uses plus identify versatile soils on a property.”

Soil mapping can be carried out on any type of farm and is not exclusive to hill country properties.

“Land owners just need to contact our land management staff on 0508 800 800 to find out how we can help them,” says Mr Cooper.

Land Use Optimisation is one of the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan’s nine identified opportunities. Building on our Region’s natural advantages, specific activities have been outlined to help unlock potential increased productivity, profitability and sustainability. This in turn will add strength to key industries to allow for more resilience in cases such as global price shocks.


While in Whanganui for the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan launch, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced the Government will invest $500,000 in partnership with the Whanganui District Council to develop a comprehensive plan to revitalise the Whanganui Port Precinct.

Whanganui District Council will develop the plan for the future of the Whanganui Port while working with iwi, business leaders, Horizons Regional Council, UCOL and nongovernmental organisations. The plan will incorporate a new marine services centre, an expanded boat building industry, visitor services and recreational area.

Revitalising the Port has been identified as a key enabler to economic prosperity within the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan, as it will contribute to the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the City.

It is expected that the initial Port revamp will support more than 135 jobs in the boat building and marine services sectors. It will also allow for the expansion of diversified businesses servicing recreational boating and visitor attractions, and will generate more opportunities for industry growth and development.

It is also expected that the Port revitalisation will provide an opportunity for Whanganui to establish itself as a centre of excellence in industry-led education. The Port will become a place where specialised marine engineering trade apprentices will be able to refine their skills on site.


Above: Ministers' Steven Joyce, Nathan Guy and Te Ururoa Flavell announce joint funding partnership into Whanganui Port Precinct. 


One of the first steps of the Port revitalisation is the relocation of Q-West Boat Builders’ premises to Tod Street. This will be the start of a Marine Precinct development that could also service marine industry training facilities.

“Managing Director of Q-West Boat Builders, Myles Fothergill recognises the support the Region is receiving from Central Government for this project.

“We are really excited about this announcement, revitalising the port precinct has been a vision for some time and we can now move forward to the next stage of planning thanks to the support and collaborative approach made by central and local government, iwi and business leaders,” he said.

“Jobs in the marine industry are expected to double to over 120, plus the planned recreational sector of the precinct will benefit the wider community with greater access and the potential to connect with the Mountains to Sea Cycleway.”

The port revitalisation is exciting news for Whanganui, further information can be found at


In recent weeks, Emergency Management personnel from around the Region took part in Exercise Tangaroa, a national exercise to test New Zealand’s preparations for, response to and recovery from a national tsunami impact.

The exercise took place over three days in August and September, with the first day of the exercise held on August 31.

Horizons Emergency Management Manager Ian Lowe said the exercise was a fantastic opportunity for emergency management personnel to practice in a simulated environment.

“The Horizons Regional Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) was activated for the day, in support of city and district councils during an emergency,” he said.

“We did not know in advance what the simulated tsunami would look like so it was a test of our decision making and communication skills.”

“The exercise also gave us the opportunity to use the national Emergency Management Information System (EMIS) in a situation which was as close to real life as possible.”

Emergency Management personnel completed two further exercises in September, the first of which simulated the response the day after a tsunami with a focus on welfare, and the second simulated the recovery effort two weeks after a tsunami.

“Undertaking an exercise such as this is also a timely reminder to get ready to get thru,” said Mr Lowe.


Above: Horizons staff during Exercise Tangaroa


In addition to testing response plans, the exercise will feed into a tsunami public education campaign getting underway soon.

“The Manawatū-Wanganui Civil Defence Group received $70,000 from the Ministry of Civil Defence last year for the campaign which has seen warning, evacuation and safe zone signage, posters and brochures created and disseminated amongst all territorial authorities.

“Local authorities are currently holding public meetings with potentially affected communities to reinforce preparedness during peace time. The tsunami signage will also be going up soon.”

“It’s a good idea to have essential items on hand at home, in your car and at your workplace, and have a chat to your family to create an emergency plan.”

Check out for further details on how to get prepared or contact the Emergency Management Officer at your city or district council to find out more about local hazards and response arrangements.

You can also check out the Civil Defence Manawatū Wanganui Facebook page, for the latest updates.


Students from ten local schools competed in Horizons Regional Council’s Challenge Day at Totara Reserve on Thursday 15 September to celebrate Conservation Week.

The theme of this year’s Conservation Week, from September 10 to 18, was Healthy Nature Healthy People. Encouraging the next generation to learn about their local natural environment and how they can contribute to its sustainability was the focus for the Challenge Day.

As the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, Horizons manage the Region’s natural resources.  Environmental educator Helen Thomas said the morning was based around hands-on learning activities associated with the Council’s work in an outside of the classroom amazing race style event.

“In teams of two, students completed as many environmental challenges as they could in an hour and a half,” said Mrs Thomas.

“Horizons-staffed stations included activities such as identifying native and introduced fish, freshwater invertebrates and plants, and labelling  predator tracks, as well as completing a ‘Are you a Surviva?’ game to help prepare children for an emergency event.

“Thanks to sponsors such as Pukaha Mt Bruce we had some great and relevant prizes. Each team will also be awarded a native seedling to plant at their school to continue the theme of sustainability long into the future. 


Above: Students take part in the Challenge Day at Totara Reserve


“We ran a similar Challenge Day last year, and found it rewarding to see many students already have an awareness of sustainability.

“It’s fantastic that many of these schools have returned, with new schools from the wider Region joining us for this year’s event.”

Totara Reserve is a Regional Park nestled in the Pohangina Valley, and home to a number of native bird, plant and tree species. With swimming spots, powered and non powered camping sites and toilet facilities, the Reserve is one of the most accessible examples of lowland forest that once covered most of the Horizons Region.

Conservation Week is organised by the Department of Conservation and is supported by a number of organisations such as Horizons.

Ngā Puna Rau Rangitīkei PROJECT UNDERWAY

Earlier this month Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox announced a $700,000 Te Mana o Te Wai grant for the $800,000 Ngā Puna Rau Rangitīkei Project. Horizons Regional Council has provided $74,000 and the Rangitīkei District Council $4,000 in additional funding.

To celebrate, project representatives were joined by children from Hunterville School, Rangitīkei MP Ian McKelvie, Horizons Councillor Gordon McKellar, and staff of the Rangitīkei District Council, to help plant 1200 native trees at the Pourewa Stream.

Ngā Puna Rau Rangitīkei, aims to preserve and enhance the mauri of the Rangitīkei River and its catchment and is led by a group of members of Ngā Pae o Rangitīkei with support from the Ministry for the Environment, Horizons Regional Council, Rangitīkei District Council, local landowners, and community members.

The project seeks to engage communities within the Rangitīkei Catchment and undertake waterway restoration works in a number of areas. In the Pourewa Stream the focus is on removing willows, removing stock from waterways, and planting native trees.

Councillor McKellar said the Rangitīkei River holds very strong cultural values, as well as recreational value to many. “The Pourewa Stream’s proximity to the coast is important for the lifecycle of native fish that need a way to get to the sea.”

Above: Hunterville School students dig in at Pourewa Stream


“The planting at Pourewa Stream is a great example of how combined efforts can make a significant contribution to protecting and enhancing our waterways for generations to come,” said Councillor McKellar.

“Every little bit of improvement work that the community does in the catchment adds up to making the Rangitīkei River a place for everybody to enjoy. Hopefully this month’s planting work will inspire others along the river to continue to look after it.”

Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Hauiti Neville Lomax said the planting of native trees along tributaries of the Rangitīkei River, such as the Pourewa Stream, will go a long way to satisfying the wishes of all people with an interest in the future of our waterways to repair the damage that has been done to our rivers in recent times. 

“The symbolic celebration is the first step in our commitment to co-operate with all stakeholders in the replanting of native tree species along all threatened waterways, within the wider  Rangitīkei/Manawatū Districts, which feed into the Rangitīkei River,” says Mr Lomax.

Above: Looking across the Pourewa Stream to the community planting day.



Inaugural Council Meeting 20 October, 10am


Regional Council  1 November,  10am                                                          

Strategy and Policy Committee  8 November, 10am                          

Catchment Operations Committee 9 November, 9am                           

Regional Council 29 November, 10am                                                              

Audit, Risk and Investment Committee 29 November, (To follow Regional Council, Public Excluded)

Unless otherwise stated meetings are open to the public and will be held at Regional House, 11-15 Victoria Avenue, Palmerston North. Please note all details were correct at time of print. However, for the most up to date dates and times for council meetings please check


Exercise Tangaroa Day 3, 28 September                                                        

Election Day 8 October, voting papers to be delivered by midday to be valid

Horizons Expo Te Manawa, Palmerston North, 21 October, 10am - 1pm