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Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand

Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says.

“The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our Future report highlights the hollowing out of our regions under National, a trend that Labour has long warned of.

“That trend has become reality. A number of experts such as the NZIER, the Royal Society and Infometrics have warned that things have become so bad some communities may be abandoned.

New Zealanders have tremendous pride in their towns and regions.  It is insulting to them and their forbears that they have been abandoned over the past 6 years by National’s management of the economy.

“Labour won’t abandon the regions – we will help them to succeed. Labour’s policies will support industry and boost growth to create jobs and opportunities in the provinces.

“We will work alongside businesses, communities and local government to tailor Regional Growth Plans to each province, as called for by experts such as Shamubeel Eaqub. Labour will announce further regional development plans next week.

“The regional decline highlights the real problems facing National’s economy which is far too reliant on dairy and the Christchurch rebuild. The wheels are falling off National’s economic management.

“Labour has long warned of the two-speed economy with the gaps between many New Zealand regions widening. Regional economies are stagnating and industries such as manufacturing and forestry are nowhere near reaching their potential.

“National has done little in six years to address these problems. Our exports narrowed and are now dropping.  Labour will boost growth in the regions by ensuring investment goes into strong regional industries such as wood processing and manufacturing instead of more housing speculation in Auckland.

“The solution is Labour’s Economic Upgrade which will focus on investment, innovation and industry to grow and diversify our economy and create better jobs that pay higher wages.

“We will boost our investment pool through universal KiwiSaver, direct that money to productive businesses and industries through our capital gains tax, increase innovation through research and development tax credits and incentives to invest in sophisticated production equipment. Our policies provide targeted support to industries, like forestry, which support so many regions,” David Parker says.