The regions have missed out yet again with Steven Joyce offering just $10m a year for key regional development projects while trumpeting a bunch of re-heated announcements, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark.
“The dairy downturn has put huge pressure on the regions. The regions need the Government to be a partner that can work with them to provide the facilities and infrastructure needed to support growth and investment.
“But those projects cost money and $10m a year in the Regional Growth Programme won’t cut it. Just like the rest of Mr Joyce’s labyrinth of grants programmes, the money in this Koru Lounge Fund will go to the last businessperson to talk the minister.
“Labour has earmarked $200m to develop business and industry in the regions. That’s what’s needed for the provinces to get traction.
“The only other genuinely new announcement for the regions is the Regional Business Partners Programme. This is classic Steven Joyce. It’s just $2m a year and he’s split the management between two of his pet agencies – Callaghan Innovation and NZTE. Too much of the money will be sucked up in internal meetings and bureaucratic turf wars. It’s money down the drain.
“The regions have so much potential. This Government's failure to invest in the regions is holding us all back,” says David Clark.