End of Year Reflections from CEDA’s CEO
Jerry Shearman shares his reflections and highlights in his first year as CEDA’s Tumuaki-CEO
Taking the role at CEDA was somewhat of a new direction for me having come from over 35 years in the tertiary sector. In reality, as they say, many skills are transferrable from one role to another, and I have spent much of 2022 growing relationships between CEDA, our local iwi, partners, and stakeholders.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank CEDA’s shareholders, board, and of course the team, for their support and commitment, and therefore I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my high points and reflections from 2022.
Reflecting on my first year in the role, I’m buoyed to see that the Manawatū continues to prove its strong resilient economy that is supported by our diverse sectors of strength and the breadth and depth of our business sector. CEDA is tasked with stewardship of the region’s economic performance and does this by supporting existing businesses to grow, and the retention and attraction of new businesses and investment to the region, along with supporting the development of the region’s talent pool and visitor attraction to the region.
The Manawatū has punched above its weight in 2022 with our GDP growth at year end September 2022 of 2.9% against a national average of 2.6%. A strong employment picture (annual growth of 2.2%) coupled with excellent income growth (7.7% at the end of September 2022 compared to 2021) has supported regional economic activity. There remains however strong labour market demand, particularly for labourers, machinery drivers, community and personal service workers, as well as those in tech and the trades. It is key we continue working collectively as a region to support these in-demand workforces.
Te Utanganui (the Central New Zealand Distribution Hub) continues to be a flagship project for the region. In speaking to our economic performance, this pillar project will have a significant impact, not only across the Manawatū region, but for the central North Island, and the logistics and distribution network across Aotearoa. Regarding other key projects of work, we have progressed the Manawatū Food Strategy and will have the final document by the end of March 2023, and then will commence work with the agri sector to implement the outcomes of the strategy. The Manawatū Destination Management Plan is soon to be completed and has been a detailed dive into the future of Manawatū and its position in the tourism and visitor sector. Finally, the re-confirmation of CEDA’s delivery of the Regional Business Partnership Programme has enabled the continuation of the support provided to our local small and medium businesses. Of note, progress on these keys projects for the region wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our shareholders, iwi, partners, and industry.
Looking forward to 2023, CEDA’s focus remains on current projects of work that are underway, while acknowledging tightening economic conditions which are likely to follow. As a region, we need to keep focused on successful outcomes and drive future opportunities, and CEDA remain committed to this task.
Now, as we head into Christmas and a well-deserved break, remember to visit ManawatuNZ.co.nz and check out all the cool things there are to do in our region. Whether it’s jumping on a mountain bike, visiting some of our amazing gardens or farmers markets, or just going out to some of the best restaurants in Aotearoa, get exploring our beautiful back yard!