A Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce has been established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regional Mayors and Chair have requested this taskforce be established to drive a strategic vision and plan for economic recovery.

The Taskforce seeks to build on the work already achieved under Accelerate25, Te Pae Tawhiti, the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group, and the region’s economic development agencies – CEDA, Whanganui & Partners, and Visit Ruapehu. It will facilitate regional collaboration and provide a cohesive, well-reasoned and powerful voice to central government.

It consists of iwi, business, local and central government leaders, and economic development agencies’ representatives, who will provide a strategic, regional lens, complementing the work being done by individual councils.

The Taskforce’s work includes delivering a Regional Economic Recovery Strategy, acting as a key channel for interaction with central government, and identifying and pursuing opportunities to strengthen and build our region’s economy.

In addition to assisting with shovel-ready projects, the Taskforce seeks to transition people back into jobs, coordinate a rural response to drought impacts, and stimulate social and economic benefits.

The Taskforce recently finalised its top recovery (Great 8) projects. As well as supporting the shovel-ready projects and regional leadership coordination for skills and talent, these include the Central NZ Distribution Hub, Ōtaki to north of Levin State Highway 1 alignment, Ruapehu tourism, Whanganui Port revitalisation, Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, and a Marton Rail Hub and manufacturing project.

Read the latest on the Taskforce’s work.


  • Michael McCartney (Chair), Accelerate25 Facilitator, Horizons Regional Council chief executive
  • Grant Smith, Accelerate25 Lead Team member and Palmerston North mayor
  • Hamish McDouall, Whanganui mayor
  • Tracey Collis, Tararua mayor
  • Pahia Turia, Accelerate25 Lead Team member, Nga Wairiki-Ngaati Apa Board chair and Whanganui & Partners Board chair
  • Ruma Karaitiana, Accelerate25 Lead Team member, Rangitāne o Manawatū Kaitiaki Limited Board Chair, and PNCC economic committee member
  • Linda Stewart, Central Economic Development Agency chief executive
  • Katie Brosnahan, Ministry for Social Development Central Region regional commissioner
  • Senior regional official, Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Warren Furner, Ruapehu District Council, destination development manager
  • Craig Nash, Accelerate25 programme director
  • Robin Hapi, Māori Economic Development Advisory Board chair
  • Hannah Middleton, Whanganui & Partners chief executive

Great 8 Projects

Find out more about these projects in the Regional Economic Recovery Strategy.

Related links

connected.govt.nz – Connecting New Zealanders to Employment, Education and Training