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Act And National Would Destroy The Regions

7 May 2002

Act and National are attacking regional development funding because if they got elected they would smash the economic development programmes of this Government, industry and regional development minister Jim Anderton says.

He has released figures refuting claims made by Rodney Hide and Tony Ryall that the majority of regional development funding is going to Auckland.

“The lions share of regional development funding is going to the regions,” Jim Anderton said.

“Mr Ryall and Mr Hide have taken grants made to get small enterprises growing and claimed that is the full extent of regional development funding. Of course more enterprise awards are made to Auckland, because Auckland has more enterprises. But that is only a fraction of regional development funding.

“On radio this morning, Mr Hide claimed Northland has received just $250,000 of regional development funding. In fact:

- Northland has received ten Enterprise Awards to the value of $119,000

- It has received Business Growth funding totalling $353,000 for six Northland companies

- Far North Communications Study $70,000

- Integrated Transport study $100,000

- Kaipara Open Waterways Project $100,000

- Soil and climate study $200,000

- Aquaculture $100,000

- Broad band telecommunications pilot. Two allocations- $158,000 and $80,000.

- Industry NZ's Cluster Development Programme is assisting with the development of two clusters in Northland - Waterwitch booksellers and Whangarei Steel/Aluminium Ship Construction group. Funding totals $28,000.

- In addition, the Northland Economic Development Strategy was completed last August with $100,000 provided by Industry New Zealand for strategic planning and $100,000 was allocated for capability building.

“Rodney Hide claimed on radio that East Coast has had only $170,000. In fact regional development funding in Tairawhiti includes:

- Business Growth funding of $100,000

- Project Rorohiko to put computers in schools - $750,000 from MED plus $800,000 from the Ministry of Education and $750,000 from Te Puni Kokiri.

- Community computer hubs - $60,000

- Forestry skills coordinator - $120,000 with total funding for the Tairawhiti Forestry Labour Skills Shortage Response Strategy of around $700,000

- Broadband Study - $30,000

- Integrated Transport Study - $156,000

- Earnings Supplement Pilot - $230,000

- Enterprise Awards funding of $85,173

- BIZ training of $760,152

- A MAF advisory officer to advise on increased productivity for Maori-owned farms in the area

- Regional Partnership funding of $52,000 for the Tairawhiti Taskforce secretariat, $55,000 for strategic development and $100,000 for capability building in February 2001.

“When this Government established Industry New Zealand there was very little capacity to develop regional plans in any region. Now that those plans have been completed in regions around New Zealand, decisions are being taken on funding for major regional initiatives and there are a number to be announced in the near future.

“It is almost unbelievable that Act and National have criticised the government for not immediately spending every dollar budgeted for regional development. It shows that care has been taken with taxpayers’ money, and that priorities had to be set before funding could be allocated.

“It is ridiculous to be attacked by Act and National for not spending enough on regional development, when those parties would not spend a cent.

“National and Act want to return to the failed hands-off policies of last century, and abandon the regions to a cycle of decline.

“Jobs and incomes in regional New Zealand would be slashed by a National Act Government,” Jim Anderton said.

Ends


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