Map of central New Zealand region
Mayors and Chairs from the top of the South Island territories through to the central North Island districts of Taranaki, Ruapehu, and Hawke's Bay attended the Central New Zealand Summit, initiated by Wellington Mayor Celia-Wade-Brown.
There was also a presentation from Ministry of Economic Development's Roger Procter and Melissa Hall on similar initiatives in the upper North Island.
Mayor Wade-Brown said that districts and cities across the lower North Island and the upper South Island shared formidable challenges and common opportunities.
"The economy, transport, tourism and responding to changes in the local government sector are issues we need to collectively address," says Mayor Wade-Brown.
"We all want to boost our productivity, attract skilled and talented people, driving our economies forward and invest in our regional infrastructure.
"The Central NZ region has a population of 1.1 million and provides 30 percent to the national GDP. This region is a significant player in New Zealand," says the Mayor. "We've got to engage with central government on what is really essential for economic growth, jobs and prosperity.
"We learnt about issues particular to certain territories - for example New Plymouth's desire for better shipping connections with Nelson, and closer tourism links between the top of the South and the Lower North - and discussed how we can work together as a region to address them
"There's a collective desire to add value to our primary produce before going market, and improve transport across coastal shipping and ferries, rail and roading links," says Mayor Wade-Brown.
The Central NZ grouping was considered complementary to existing sectoral approaches such as Local Government New Zealand's (LGNZ) rural group. Mayor Wade-Brown was asked to lead the next steps in developing a Central NZ alliance.