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West Coast steaming under Labour Progressive Govt

30 June 2004

West Coast steaming under Labour Progressive Government

The West Coast has been steaming ahead under the Labour Progressive Government. Nick Smith has obviously not been paying attention to the West Coast if he thinks it has been treated with contempt by this Labour Progressive government, Jim Anderton, Minister of Economic Development and Progressive Leader said today.

"I have visited the West Coast four times since February 2002, innumerable times before that and will be visiting again in July. This government has been working in partnership with the West Coast community to support their economic growth for the last five years. Mr Brash is a late-comer to the needs of the West Coast," the Progressive leader said.

"The 'hands on' approach of this Labour Progressive government has paid off handsomely in economic development success. The West Coast is now experiencing its 14th consecutive rise in economic activity, which has resulted in an 11 year high for year on year growth, at 4.6 per cent. Unemployment, which reached 10.5 per cent under National in 1991, has been reduced down to 2.7 per cent in March 2004.

"My visits to the West Coast have focussed on getting things done for the businesses and communities there to lift economic growth in the region and improve the living standards of the people living there. NZ Trade and Enterprise, for example, are working with the Oparara Valley Trust and Venture West Coast to develop the valley's tourism potential. Further projects under consideration include broadband, horticulture, tourism, energy and freight transport.

"One of the first things this government did upon coming to power in 1999 was to make available to the West Coast a $120 million opportunity fund to expand its economy from being too reliant on extraction and commodity based industries as the mainstay of its future development.

"Instead of leaving the West Coast to languish on economic growth of below 1 per cent as it did during the National ACT coalition in the late 1990s this government has worked hard to support the businesses and communities of the West Coast. "I suggest that West Coasters remind Don Brash of this when he undertakes his political grandstanding tour in July. West Coasters have long memories about who has and who hasn't helped their amazing economic recovery," Jim Anderton, said.

ENDS

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