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Anderton announces Northland regional development

4 December 2000 Media Statement

Anderton announces Northland regional development programme

"Northland is a priority for the Labour Alliance Coalition Government's regional development programmes. I have instructed the Ministry of Economic Development to visit the region again before Christmas and then, in the new year, put together a development package before I visit the area in early March," said Jim Anderton Deputy Prime Minister.

"The Ministry will prepare a thorough assessment of the regional issues and opportunities, and make initial contact for me with all the key players. Then, in cooperation with the leaders of the Northland region they will design the process which best meets the needs of Northland. One issue I have spent the last week working on in Asia is encouraging overseas owners of New Zealand forests to increase their investment in wood processing in New Zealand," said Jim Anderton, who has spent eight days visiting Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

"Forestry is a major industry in areas such as Northland and creating jobs where as much of the work as possible is done locally will assist regional development. Every time an unprocessed log is exported we lose jobs and overseas earnings.

"Northland has been allowed to fall behind as a region by previous governments. The last National/Act supported government did nothing for regional development in nine years in office. This Government is not standing aside to allow this to continue," said Jim Anderton.

The commitment to Northland follows the highly successful Tairawhiti Development Taskforce Report announced on 24 November following six months of intensive work in the East Coast region. Although a different approach might be adopted in Northland the commitment to local people and jobs is the same and the lessons learnt will be valuable.

The Tairawhiti Development Taskforce report contained a number of major announcements including: providing 2000 computers for schools, marae and community centres in the region; the announcement of a regional road, port and rail review to develop proposals for securing transport networks in and out of the region; and an objective for the forestry industry to work toward processing 60 per cent of logs in the region.

ENDS

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