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National Threat to Regional Development

National Threat to Regional Development

National Party candidates disagree about the future of regional development, according to the Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Development, John Wright.

Mr Wright, who is standing for Jim Anderton’s Progressive Coalition in the Waimakariri electorate, came up against two National party candidates at two different campaign events on Monday, July 15, and both candidates gave opposing views on National’s plans for the regions.

Under the Clark/Anderton government, Jim Anderton created the Ministry of Regional Development and Industry New Zealand, which has led to positive growth in all regions of New Zealand.

At a Forestry Industry seminar in Wellington, Phil Heatley, National’s spokesman on Forestry and MP for Whangarei, acknowledged the benefits of the Jim Anderton’s regional development plan and said National would “keep it and tidy it up”.

But it was a different story two hours later when John Wright debated with Don Brash, National’s future spokesman on finance, on the Wellington television programme “Capital Talk”. Mr Brash described the Ministry’s work as being “at worst harmless but at best slightly helpful”, but added that National did not consider it worth continuing with.

Sustained regional growth leading to full employment and an adequate standard of living and was behind the Progressive Coalition’s cornerstone commitment to having everyone under 20 in jobs, education or training by 2005, Mr Wright said. “Progressive Coalition ambitions are for full employment and an exciting future for every region.”

“Before people in the regions vote, they should clarify where National actually does stand on regional development,” Mr Wright said.

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