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Shocking falls in regional growth needs Govt action

New figures show the shocking extent of troubles in the regions, with Southland’s GDP falling by 10 per cent, and the West Coast by five per cent in the year to March 2015, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark.

“The collapsing dairy prices and struggling mining and gas industries have caused serious economic problems for many regions with some going backwards as shown in today’s regional GDP figures.

“Southland’s 10 per cent fall in GDP is extremely concerning as is the West Coast falling by 5 per cent.

“Steven Joyce’s former poster child – Taranaki – has fallen by 3.3 per cent. And the Waikato is down by 2.2 per cent, showing the fall in dairy prices is hitting hard.

“National nakedly told regions to boost mining, drilling and dairy but didn’t seem to consider that those commodities have cycles. There was no encouragement to develop diverse, high-value regional economies that could withstand falls in commodities.

“Nothing the Government has done since is a game changer for the regions.

“National is failing the regions. They need to develop effective regional action plans and put their money where their mouth is. Right now Steven Joyce just produces glossy pamphlets for the regions but doesn’t stump up for critical infrastructure and industry support.

“Regional New Zealand is critical to the wider success of the economy. National simply doesn’t get it,” says David Clark.