Regional economies must have tailored plans

News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says.

“The Canpac site has effectively responded to the demand for value-added milk products. This is a role we hope the Hamilton site can retain through proposals to develop paediatrician milk powder.

“The proposed job losses will be upsetting to workers and we hope negotiations with Fonterra will result in new jobs offers for the majority of them.

“These workers need certainty and, just as Fonterra has to readjust its business due to a decline in demand for its products, the company needs to initiate a plan for the future of the Canpac plant.

“Labour’s Regional Growth Plans announced yesterday will help places like the Waikato cope with changing economic conditions. Our new $200 million Regional Development Fund will boost infrastructure and industry projects to help buffer local ebbs while creating sustainable jobs.

“The future of a productive economy is one that looks to greater collaboration, resilience and investment to increase productivity and secure job opportunity.

“New Zealand needs a government that gets behind the regions. Labour’s regional development policy will help create an economic step-change for our regions,” Nanaia Mahuta says.