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Government services in Central Hawke's Bay boosted

Government services in Central Hawke's Bay boosted

Essential government services will be returned to Central Hawke's Bay with the expected opening next month of the latest Heartland Service Centre in Waipukurau, Associate Minister of Social Services and Employment Rick Barker said.

Mr Barker said the combined government service centre would be located on the ground floor of 125 Ruataniwha Street and would provide permanent space for the Central Hawke's Bay Support and Counselling Service, Food Bank and Community Probation.

Numerous government organisations including ACC, Community Employment, Housing New Zealand, Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Maori Development, Maori Land Court and Career Services would also operate from the centre on a part-time basis.

A tentative date of April 28 has been given for the opening of the new government one-stop-shop.

Mr Barker, also MP for Tukituki, has been invited to open the new Heartland site and said the centre would be a great asset for the people of Central Hawke's Bay

"I'm delighted that we've been able to secure the latest Heartland Services base for the people of Waipukurau and Central Hawke's Bay."

Heartland Services is a new government initiative which restores face-to-face access to a range of services in provincial communities.

Over recent years small towns across the country have experienced a flight of government services, which Mr Barker said he was keen to see restored.

"People in rural and semi-rural areas should not have to travel for miles to access government services and I think Heartland is a great example of how we can bridge that gap."

Coordinators at the new Waipukurau Heartland Service Centre will provide a link between residents and government agencies.

At recently opened Heartland bases elsewhere in the country, a public telephone and computer is provided and coordinators help residents with general enquiries, including accessing government websites for job searches and other information.

Heartland Service Centres make links to these and a wider range of agencies, including MAF, OSH and the Employment Relation Service on behalf of local residents.

Opening hours for permanent services and appointments for visiting service providers would be available closer to the expected opening date next month.

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