Recovery planning building up slowly

A group tasked with hatching "innovative ideas" to support the Queenstown Lakes district’s economic recovery has yet to appoint a chairman or schedule its second meeting.

The Regenerative Recovery Advisory Group had its first meeting on July 6, when its 10 volunteer members heard a briefing on recovery work so far.

District council spokesman Jack Barlow said the date for a second meeting, when the chairman was expected to be appointed, was likely to be decided next week.

Council chief executive Mike Theelen told the Otago Daily Times he acknowledged it had "taken some time" to get the group up and running.

"Getting the group set up and bringing a group of individuals together who may have never met each other ... is not a simple task," Mr Theelen said.

Diversifying the district’s economy was a challenge that would not be resolved "in an instant".

"Many of these changes need deliberate action, but will only emerge over the coming years."

Mr Theelen said the Mayoral Taskforce on Tourism and Short Term Recovery, which met for the first time on May 27, was focusing on the district’s immediate issues of unemployment and business failure, while the advisory group would look "much longer term".

The council had asked the group, which was "supported by QLDC but is community-led", to come up with ideas to contribute to its 2021-2031 10-Year Plan and a "Diversification Plan" for the district.

Group members

Regenerative Recovery Advisory Group members
  • Rod Drury, founder of accounting software company Xero 
  • Roger Sharp, Webjet chairman and Tourism New Zealand deputy chairman
  • Simon Telfer, Wanaka businessman 
  • Annis Somerville, retired Family Court Judge 
  • Erica Seville, Resilient Organisations executive director
  • Julian Knights, Wakatipu businessman and Three Lakes Cultural Trust chairman 
  • Kathy Dedo, Link Upper Clutha facilitator 
  • Leslie Van Gelder, archaeologist and conservationist 
  • Monique Kelly, Wanaka businesswoman
  • Neil Jacobstein, The Aspen Institute NZ director 

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