Just Transitions for Southland

The Government has cemented its commitment to secure a bright economic future for Southland, by launching an economic road map for the region as it navigates the impending closure of the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter.

MBIE’s Just Partnership Transition team has been working with the region since the start of 2021 to support a just transition following the announcement the owners of the smelter plan are to close it at the end of 2024.

This work has led to the release of a just transitions workplan geared towards building the region’s economic, environmental and social resilience through and beyond the smelter’s planned closure. The transition gives the region opportunity to build a fairer, more sustainable, more resilient local economy.

Workplan – bringing together ideas

The workplan, launched early February 2022, puts Southlanders in the driver’s seat to build a bright economic future.

The plan represents more than a year of work between Southland iwi, regional leaders, and central government, with a strong focus on managing the impacts of the planned closure.  The work focuses on developing new industries, creating new jobs, and improving the community’s ability to manage economic shocks. 

The workplan, which is being governed by the Southland Enduring Oversight Group, sets out 3 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.

Next steps

The workplan has been broken into 7 workstreams, and each of the workstreams require more work to develop the detail on how to deliver, what is needed to make it happen, and when it is likely.  Each of the proposed workstreams will be assigned a just transition working group, which will report back to the Enduring Oversight Group by August this year. 

Once this feedback is received, EOG will work with central government on how the agreed goals will be delivered before the smelter closes at the end of 2024.

The full workplan can be found on the Southland's just transition website.

Southland just transition(external link) — southlandjusttransition.nz

If you are wanting to be involved in any of the just transition working groups, or are wanting to provide feedback, please email: justtransitions@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 04 February 2022