Putting Southlanders back in economic driving seat

  • Southland Just Transition Work Plan released, sets economic direction of travel
  • 3 key themes: job creation, transitioning workers, & long-term planning
  • Exemplar of how a region can work together

Southlanders are being put back in the driving seat of their economic future thanks to a newly released work plan launched today by Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources and Minister of Research, Science and Innovation.

“This important milestone, just 18 months after Rio Tinto announced it was winding up operations at the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter, represents an exciting opportunity to shape the jobs and future we want for Southland,” said Megan Woods.

“The closure date has since been delayed to 2024, but no matter when the final closure occurs the transition is an important opportunity to build a fairer, more sustainable, more resilient local economy,” says Megan Woods.

“Developing new industries, creating new jobs, improving the community’s ability to manage economic shocks, setting Southland up for the future – these give Southlanders options that are not dependent on one large employer.

 “The partnership we see here today is the result of many months of work by Iwi, regional leaders, and the local community, and shows how a region can work together, understand its unique needs, and partner with government to put together an ambitious plan.”

“The Southland Just Transition Work Plan is a big step towards certainty for Southland’s economic future, it gives clarity on the direction of travel, incorporates the strengths of the region, and is about putting Southlanders back in the driving seat.”

The work plan sets out three themes which will underpin Southland’s transition:

  • Creating new industries and employment - clean energy, land use and aquaculture have been identified as the sectors with the greatest potential to diversify the region’s economy while providing good, new jobs.
  • Transitioning workers and skills – supporting workers and businesses to take advantage of new opportunities and build Southland’s economic, social, and environmental resilience.
  • Long-term planning - good planning to build resilience up to and through the planned closure of the smelter.

“I look forward to the next step of the journey when all of the work streams that are part of the plan provide their reports on the next stage of delivery,” Megan Woods says.

The Southland Just Transition Work Plan can be downloaded from the Southland Just Transition website: https://southlandjusttransition.nz/