The dairy slump is sending business confidence in major regions such as Waikato and Southland through the floor with some areas going into recession, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark.
“The Westpac NZ Regional Economic Confidence Survey is bad news for the regions. It shows the reckless complacency and regional neglect of this Government is hurting the provinces.
“In the December to March quarter economic confidence in Waikato fell 18% to -14%; in Taranaki/Manawatu-Whanganui it plunged 31% to -22% and in Southland it dropped a whopping 38% to -22%.
“Those are terrible numbers and will be a deep concern to everyone trying to make a living in those areas.
“Waikato, Taranaki and Southland are already in recession and others are likely to follow.
“A big drop in business confidence in these regions is a slap in the face for National. It shows businesses don’t believe the Government has a way out of the dairy slump. And certainly not a Plan B.
“National’s glossy regional action plans are all talk and no action with no money to back them up. Steven Joyce has to think wider than pretty publications.
“National needs to urgently diversify the economy, especially in the regions and support new businesses and industries to create the jobs needed to boost business confidence and lift these areas out of recession. Labour would establish a regional development fund to support key infrastructure and businesses by working with local industry and councils to get things moving,” says David Clark.