Our Leading Edge Strategy

Overview

The Leading Edge Strategy was developed for Whanganui after extensive community consultation. While it was designed as a strategy for our district as a whole, it also provides vision and direction for our Council, underpinning everything we do.

Leading Edge is about Whanganui being seen as positive and exciting – a community that is united, connected, creative, environmentally rich and economically prosperous. 

Our vision is to be an energised, united and thriving district offering abundant opportunities for everyone. 

We want to be confident leaders and influential trailblazers. We are comfortable with being a ‘bit different’ and not following the pack because this sets the scene for the types of innovative approaches that we will continue to front-foot. 

 Community icon COMMUNITY A deeply united community  
 Community icon CONNECTIVITY Connected
 Creativity icon CREATIVITY Innovative and creative
 Environment icon ENVIRONMENT Safeguarding our place
 Economy icon ECONOMY   Works for everyone

Community

Strategic intention – what we want to be

We are a place resounding with community spirit and there is an underlying essence that underpins what it means to be from or in Whanganui. We support each other, work in partnership, are resilient and can handle challenges. We keep talking to each other and are pulling in the same direction. We know where we are heading but celebrate and champion diversity. Our roots run deep.

Goal

Working in partnership – shaping a district that celebrates and champions its cultural and social diversity as well as its community spirit 

How will we know when we get there?

  • We will report back regularly on whether we have achieved our stated actions but these measures will also help tell the story of our progress for a more complete picture. This strategy belongs to the community and achievement of it will be a community-wide partnership
  • We will maintain International Safe Community accreditation (Receipt of international accreditation)
  • We will demonstrate restorative city principles (Participation in the Restorative Cities programme)
  • The percentage of people who indicate high levels of belonging and wellbeing will increase (Community Views Survey)
  • We will become more culturally diverse (Census results)
  • We will have more hapu / marae / community plans (Council minutes)
  • The community will be more satisfied with Council leadership (Community Views Survey)
  • There will be greater levels of community pride (Community Views Survey)
  • Council’s performance will improve (for example, as measured through appropriate benchmarking tools)
  • Our district’s performance in relation to national health targets will improve (Ministry of Health)

Strategic objectives

We will:

  • Strengthen partnerships and ways of working collaboratively to weave our aspirations together - while respectfully acknowledging differences
  • Meet our obligations arising from the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017 and the aspirations of the Whanganui Lands Negotiations Settlement Trust in a mutually appropriate partnership process with mana whenua (whanau, hapu and iwi)
  • Pursue initiatives that secure our health, our safety and instill a sense of belonging and wellbeing for all
  • Celebrate and champion the diversity in our district by educating, sharing and storytelling
  • Demonstrate strong, positive and empowering leadership to support unity and drive our district forward
  • Be transparent and inclusive in all our democratic processes
  • Deliver sport and recreation facilities to meet the needs of our community

Actions

To achieve these we will:

  • Plan and work together with Iwi in a mutually appropriate way to develop a Whole of River Strategic Plan
  • Encourage the development of partnerships with Iwi on specific projects for the benefit of the community
  • Develop two hapu / marae / community plans each year
  • Commit to partnership approaches so that we can design initiatives and look for new opportunities together when delivering services to the community
  • Enhance our relationships through restorative practices to support a Restorative City approach
  • Focus on neighbourhood connectedness and revitalisation of our suburbs
  • Continue to achieve International Safe Community accreditation as designated by the Pan Pacific Safe Communities Network
  • Support the welfare of our community and protect our people from harm through health, wellbeing and regulatory functions and policies
  • Engage proactively with our distinct communities of interest to ensure everyone has a voice (e.g. young people, rural communities, older people and cultural communities)
  • Implement a Welcoming Communities Plan and support other approaches which welcome new people to our district
  • Implement a Sports and Recreation Strategy

Connectivity

Strategic intention – what we want to be

We are outward-looking and constantly seek to expand and enhance our world view – positioning ourselves and raising our image regionally, nationally and internationally. We make sustainable connections – through our network infrastructure, digital capacity, expansive ideas and external relationships. We are accessible, linked in and known for it.

Goal 

A dynamic, broadly connected district that is accessible, linked in and known for it

How will we know when we get there?

  • We will report back regularly on whether we have achieved our stated actions but these measures will also help tell the story of our progress for a more complete picture. This strategy belongs to the community and achievement of it will be a community-wide partnership. 
  • We will achieve international benchmarks (Receipt of international accreditation)
  • National perceptions of our district as a tourism destination will increase (National Perceptions Survey)
  • The number of visitors to Whanganui will track in line with national trends (Commercial Accommodation Monitor)
  • Satisfaction with roading and connectivity will increase (Community Views Survey)
  • More people will be using our walkways (Community Views Survey)
  • We will have higher rates of tertiary qualifications (Census results)
  • We will gain a positive reputation as a destination of choice to live, work, study and do business (National Perceptions Survey)
  • The Digital Strategy’s indicators and objectives will be met (Council reporting)

Strategic objectives

We will:

  • Continue to build on the connectivity opportunities provided by technology
  • Drive digital innovation and opportunity in partnership with the community
  • Achieve greater accessibility to and within the district for all modes of transport, including through making our district more walk and cycle friendly
  • Improve our image and enhance our reputation as a great place to come, stay and invest
  • Work together as a region to leverage more opportunities and bolster our pulling power
  • Test ourselves on the global stage through the attainment of international benchmarks
  • Commit to continuous improvement and be an educated district – with a lifelong commitment to learning
  • Support existing, and seek out new international relationships – culturally and in the business world
  • Become positive ambassadors and self-promoters of our district and encourage those with a connection or interest in Whanganui to do the same

Actions

To achieve this we will:

  • Support Whanganui and Partners to implement and succeed with our business, digital, visitor, and education strategies
  • Develop a revised Digital Strategy which broadly responds to the community’s current and future drivers, takes a multi-faceted approach and is supported by the right tools and frameworks
  • Deliver on a clear marketing, branding and promotion proposition – one that trumpets our points of difference and competitive advantages
  • Commit to reputation management initiatives
  • Construct the downriver section of the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail from Upokongaro
  • Support digital innovation initiatives and promote Whanganui as a digital destination of choice outside the large urban centres
  • Enhance urban cycle and pathway connections through new projects which enhance our walk and cyclability
  • Continue to provide more bicycle parking as an alternative to car parking
  • Upgrade and extend roading networks for enhanced accessibility at Mosston Road, Fitzherbert Avenue and Castlecliff
  • Look for and adopt shared service opportunities where these benefit our district
  • Work with both current providers and external options to identify opportunities to grow the capacity of current educational offerings and training
  • Pursue international accreditation benchmarks where possible
  • Make use of social media by embracing the opportunities here, being bold and making more of our information available online
  • Improve open space linkages throughout the district, including enhancing access to the beach and river
  • Develop identifiable products, people and proposals to get our district noticed in the right ways on the national and international stage
  • Leverage international relationships to achieve cultural, educational and economic benefit and investment – including forging a relationship with a major New Zealand city

Creativity

Strategic intention – what we want to be

We are innovative, entrepreneurial, go-getters – we actively attract industry, support start-ups and are a lightning rod for ideas and creativity. Our arts community and heritage set us apart – giving us soul and heart. We are sharp economic operators and hum with cultural personality.

Goal

A knowledge economy driven by innovation and humming with cultural personality

How will we know when we get there?

  • We will report back regularly on whether we have achieved our stated actions but these measures will also help tell the story of our progress for a more complete picture. This strategy belongs to the community and achievement of it will be a community-wide partnership. 
  • The types of jobs we offer in our district will increasingly support a knowledge economy (MBIE)
  • The percentage of 15 to 24 years olds not in employment, education or training will decrease (MBIE)
  • We will have implemented our Arts and Culture Strategy (Council minutes)
  • We will have more people engaged in our district’s arts and cultural events (Community Views Survey)
  • There will be more social infrastructure and place-making activities in our district (Council minutes)
  • More people will perceive our district as an arts hub (National Perceptions Survey)
  • The number of people registered in tertiary / trades training will be maintained or increase (Education Provider Surveys / Ministry of Education)

Strategic objectives

We will:

  • Protect and promote our culture and heritage as a key point of difference
  • Facilitate the use of digital technologies and smart approaches to drive innovation and productivity
  • Sustain and nurture our arts reputation
  • Use our compactness, agility and pioneering attitude to our advantage by attracting niche manufacturing opportunities, microbusinesses, start-ups, creative industries and points of difference
  • Develop a dynamic knowledge economy and workforce
  • Become a district renowned for talent and creativity
  • Generate a buzz through events and downtown vibrancy

Actions

To achieve this we will:

  • Work towards establishing four suburban library hubs
  • Foster literacy and learning by continuing to improve our library service and its delivery to children, families and under-served communities
  • Encourage innovation and start-ups through projects run via the Innovation Quarter
  • Focus on digital technologies to grow business, investment and innovation
  • Adopt and implement an Arts and Culture Strategy
  • Continue to work with industry and / or specific companies to identify needs and, if appropriate, partner with a Private Training Enterprise to increase capacity for training in Whanganui
  • Support the Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment project as a powerful arts anchor
  • Trumpet existing success stories and look for the next big thing
  • Work on innovative digital opportunities to support Council’s service delivery – including in relation to the ‘internet of things’ and making sure that our infrastructure is future-ready
  • Enter more awards to celebrate what we do and position ourselves as leading edge
  • Continue the implementation of our Public Art Strategy
  • Support, create and grow events – both iconic and off-peak
  • Implement an interactive arts and heritage walkway in the town centre

Environment

Strategic intention – what we want to be

We draw strength from our rich tapestry of rivers which sustain and shape us. We are a district with beautiful, integrated design, bountiful and valued natural resources and a sense of life and vitality. It feels positive here and there is a lot going on. Our wealth is abundant and we take a broad view of what this means. We play on our strengths and make our own opportunities – trumpeting our unique identity through place making that flows from the mountain to the river to the sea. We are eco-rich, showcase and safeguard our heritage and always keep an eye on the future.

Goal

A district that safeguards its natural resources and provides an environment with a sense of place, identity and vitality

How will we know when we get there?

  • We will report back regularly on whether we have achieved our stated actions but these measures will also help tell the story of our progress for a more complete picture. This strategy belongs to the community and achievement of it will be a community-wide partnership. 
  • We will meet environmental monitoring targets through the State of the Environment Report (State of the Environment Report)
  • We will have implemented a Town Centre Regeneration Strategy (Council minutes)
  • We will have achieved the targets in our Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (Waste Working Party Reports)
  • Our corporate environmental impact will reduce and will become a resource-efficient Council (Corporate reports)
  • We will demonstrate a sustainable approach to resource management in line with the goals of the District Plan (Council records)

Strategic objectives

We will:

  • Capitalise and build on the value of our coastal location
  • Ensure our built environment reflects 21st century needs while preserving our distinctive heritage
  • Pursue integrated and rejuvenated urban design, place making and landscape approaches
  • Safeguard the health of the Awa and let its richness shape us as a place
  • Connect our identity to authenticity, abundance and community pride
  • Maximise our rural assets and identify opportunities for sustainable growth
  • Recognise the values held by mana whenua under kaitiaki for the environment – preserving and conserving our natural resources and heritage by seeking sustainable and innovative green solutions
  • Look after our infrastructural network and assets with a view to the future – encouraging innovation and making sure of the sustainable use of technology and other materials
  • Continue to deliver a proactive, flexible and continually evolving District Plan – with the provision of appropriate zones and precincts
  • Ensure the growth of the district is undertaken in a sustainable way
  • Increase our resilience to climate chang

Actions

To achieve this we will:

  • Work with Iwi to realise Te Awa Tupua aspirations
  • Revitalise and beautify the town centre
  • Pursue green tech approaches and take a responsible approach to the disposal of waste
  • Develop and implement a coastal plan
  • Respond positively and innovatively to earthquake-prone building issues
  • Support the successful achievement of the Whole of River Strategic Plan
  • Facilitate community engagement to ensure a place-based planning approach for development
  • Commit to the creation of quality urban design by formalising guidelines as a signatory to the urban design protocol
  • Enhance our responsibilities in relation to sustainable land use and pursue innovative partnerships to value resources and eliminate waste
  • Manage our assets, facilities and infrastructure responsibly and sustainably on behalf of the community
  • Protect the use of soil and rural assets and activities through the District Plan
  • Rejuvenate Castlecliff and our coastal environment
  • Take a risk-based approach to asset management
  • Lead community responses to the risks and opportunities of climate change as per our Infrastructure Strategy and other key documents
  • Continue to develop the rural sector – including through the Rural Enterprise Project and our opportunities in relation to horticulture
  • Protect and enhance our built heritage in line with the Town Centre Regeneration Strategy
  • Promote environmentally sustainable practices to divert more waste to landfill and to position disposal as the last choice behind reduced waste producing habits, reuse of products and recycling.

Economy

Strategic intention – what we want to be

We provide boundless opportunities and are truly a place of choice for all. We are thriving and loaded with jobs, development and lifestyle appeal meaning that anyone can and will want to call us home. We are welcoming, empowering and enabling – supporting everyone to flourish.

Goal

An easy-living place of choice of all – flourishing with employment and development opportunities

How will we know when we get there?

  • We will report back regularly on whether we have achieved our stated actions but these measures will also help tell the story of our progress for a more complete picture. This strategy belongs to the community and achievement of it will be a community-wide partnership. 
  • There will be more jobs and businesses established in the district (MBIE)
  • Our median income will increase (Census results)
  • We will have more people in our district (Census results)
  • We will have more people with NCEA Level 2 (Ministry of Education)
  • We will perform well on the Affordability Index (Affordability Index results)
  • More people will have a positive view of the lifestyle benefits in Whanganui – both internally and externally (Community Views Survey and the National Perceptions Survey)
  • Our residents’ satisfaction in relation to their standard of living will improve (Community Views Survey)
  • We will meet the targets in our Economic Development Strategy (Whanganui & Partners report)
  • Our schools will have more international students (Ministry of Education)
  • We will have the same rate of growth for tourism spend as the New Zealand total average (Regional Tourism Estimates)

Strategic objectives

We will:

  • Ensure our services and facilities reflect the diverse and changing needs of our community
  • Facilitate economic development initiatives in partnership with Iwi, the business community and the education sector
  • Invest in our young people and look to boost skills, training, employment opportunities and our knowledge workforce
  • Focus on efforts that will support population attraction and retention
  • Act as a facilitator and enabler for development
  • Support the retention of key health and social infrastructure
  • Promote and enhance our lifestyle advantages
  • Ensure the quality and diversity of our education options and promote these widely

Actions

To achieve this we will:

  • Rejuvenate and increase economic activity at the Port in partnership with Iwi
  • Implement our Economic Development Strategy
  • Support the 100% SWEET initiative to assist Whanganui students into training and employment
  • Maximise our educational facilities and reputation and work with local education providers to promote Whanganui as the district of choice for international students
  • Partner with social support and health agencies to secure a district that works for everyone
  • Maximise development and cluster opportunities in our industrial precinct while acknowledging our unique industries
  • Seek out and capitalise on opportunities available through the provincial growth fund
  • Ensure that Maori economic development aspirations are recognised in a strategic sense alongside Iwi and Te Manu Atatu Maori Business networks
  • Work with interested parties to facilitate change of use for any land or property to the benefit of Whanganui
  • Pursue relevant social and economic growth opportunities identified via Accelerate25