A hui on regional development in the Tairāwhiti region was told in no uncertain terms last night that the social and economic ball was now in their court when it comes to development projects, says the MP for Ikaroa Rāwhiti Hon Meka Whaitiri.
“Regional Development Minister Shane Jones told Iwi leaders, local body representatives, police and DHB bosses that they had to get their projects for the Tuawhenua projects into the Government immediately.
“This is clearly a Government of action and Minister Jones stressed that he would look favourably on any projects that would make the supply chain more efficient.
“He also made it clear that while Tairāwhiti is only 5 per cent of New Zealand’s land mass, 25 per cent of that land is Māori freehold. This huge acreage will become crucial in the Billion trees programme.
“Unified Tairāwhiti leaders said they wanted to talk about everything from a new port development at Hicks Bay to a fix for roading on the East Coast. They also want renewed investment in housing and tourism.
Last Friday the region was told that the Government will spend $9.2 million dollars immediately on a raft of projects for Tairāwhiti in what has been designated as a surge region.
The Tuawhenua spend will go to improving Gisborne’s port, kick-starting a Wood Processing Centre of Excellence and reopening the Napier –Wairoa line for logging trains.
“These are exciting times for the people of New Zealand’s provinces who have been neglected for 9 years and kept in the economic doldrums, “says the Hon Meka Whaitiri.