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National committed to regional growth

Bill English Leader of the Opposition

27 November 2001

National committed to regional growth

Regional development has a critical part to play in the future shape of New Zealand, says Opposition Leader Bill English.

On the eve of a major two-day conference on regional development in Rotorua, Mr English says investment and development in all our regions must be seen as a springboard for this country's economic growth.

"New Zealand has a strong owner-operator culture but not enough is being done to help small and medium-sized businesses realise their full potential. The Government's fragmented and confusing system of funding regional development is proving too hard for many operators.

"National is committed to getting rid of these bottlenecks and providing the co-ordination and support needed. If we don't actively develop our regions, we are missing out on employment opportunities for many New Zealanders.

"We have a long history and natural advantages in biotech industries, tourism, agricultural industries and a resilient manufacturing sector. But our success lies in investing in these areas, particularly at a regional level," says Mr English.

National's Economic and Regional Development spokesperson, Tony Ryall, and associate spokesperson, Shane Ardern, will be taking this message to the 600 delegates of the Regional Development Conference when it opens in Rotorua tomorrow.

Ends

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