29 January 2021
Media Release - Dame Margaret to step down from WEDS
After two years at the helm, Dame Margaret Bazely is set to step down from the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy governance group.
Replacing her as chair will be professional company director Adrienne Young-Cooper. She will take up the volunteer role in March.
The primary function of WEDS, since its establishment in late 2018, has been to support economic growth initiatives in the Wairarapa. The governance group is made up of the three Wairarapa mayors, the chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Iwi representatives, and business and farming representatives. Dame Margaret is the foundation chair of the governance group.
She will leave the role satisfied with the progress that has been made.
“It’s been a challenging time, but I feel that we have achieved quite a bit,” Dame Margaret says.
Among some of the successes is the establishment of primary sector training in Wairarapa. This was particularly significant following the sudden closure of Taratahi Training Centre and the nation-wide tertiary sector reforms.
In addition, WEDS has developed and is implementing a (Wairarapa) Workforce Plan including the establishment of industry groups.
“We have done a colossal amount of work in this area which has got us leading the country in tertiary sector education reform.”
Other big-ticket work includes the development of an almost completed Wairarapa Water Resilience Strategy and facilitating a number of successful Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) applications for Wairarapa projects.
Dame Margaret says the impact of Covid-19 highlighted the value of the WEDS organisation.
“Having the governance group is marvellous for Wairarapa because it brought all the players around the table working together.
“We have been able to look at issues that are Wairarapa wide, not specific to a single council. And by standing together we’ve been able to be much stronger in our approach, particularly to Government.”
Dame Margaret says it has been a “privilege” to have been involved with WEDS.
Mrs Young-Cooper says Dame Margaret leaves very big shoes to fill.
She too has an impressive leadership background in urban development and transport, particularly of large organisations.
Mrs Young-Cooper was the chair of Housing NZ and drove the planning and funding for the largest government led urban regeneration programme and state house building for 50 years. She also served on the board of NZTA for eight years. Currently she is chair of the boards of Auckland Transport and the Queenstown Airport Corporation.
She divides her time between Auckland and Wairarapa, owning a house in Martinborough.
“As well as being a beautiful and highly productive part of the country, Wairarapa is a microcosm of everything that is best about New Zealand.
“I am honoured to be able to become involved with such an important strategy for the community,” she says.
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