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Progressives oversee major forestry development

29 July 2004

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

National napped but Progressives oversee major forestry development

Progressive leader Jim Anderton told Parliament today there are nearly twenty forestry added-value projects in the pipeline under the investor-friendly business environment fostered by the Labour Progressive government, which stands in stark contrast to the nine wasted years of National administration in the 1990s.

"The private sector in New Zealand isn't required by law to tell the government of their investment plans, but I am aware of not just one wood industry development but 17 which Investment New Zealand knows about from public announcements alone which are planned to come on-stream between 2004 and 2009.

That represents a total of $523.5 million of capital investment in the pipeline, Jim Anderton said in response to a Parliamentary question from a National MP.

Jim Anderton noted the Resource Management Act was put into law early in the nine-year term of the previous National government in the 1990s.

"National gave this country the RMA and had nine long years to make improvements that in fact the Labour Progressive government is making - and has made since 1999 – including the substantial extra resources provided to the Environment Court soon after it entered government and under the stewardship of Progressive deputy leader, Matt Robson.

The 2004 Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall St Journal, lists New Zealand as the third "freest" economy in the world, well ahead of Australia, the U.S. or the U.K. and in the last full year for which data is available, 2003, the New Zealand economy grew at a very strong 3.5%, above Australia's rate of development and also well above the average of 2.2% for the OECD group of rich nations as a whole.

"That doesn't mean we can't do even more to promote the creation of high quality jobs and further economic development.

"Of course, the Labour Progressive government accepts there is always ongoing scope to improve the Resource Management Act enacted by a National government, to deliver both better environmental results as well as greater certainty and efficiency for job-creating investors," Jim Anderton said.

"There may also be scope for the development and implementation of more national instruments under the RMA, such as including National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards, and I just hope the National Opposition will support making any further public investment that may be required to better resource government agencies in order to make our laws better," the Progressive leader said.

ENDS

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