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Labour makes desperate sop to the regions

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister for Economic Development

22 July 2014

Labour makes desperate sop to the regions

The Labour Party's regional announcement today is a desperate bid to distract people from Labour’s own internal problems, including how their regionally based candidates and MPs are deserting them, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Labour’s classic response to problems is to throw money around, and today David Cunliffe is doing that again in another desperate attempt to revive his leadership,” Mr Joyce says.

“The independent data shows that the regions have been leading New Zealand’s economic recovery. Eight out of 11 regions have a lower unemployment rate than Auckland. And migration data out yesterday confirms that people are voting with their feet, and staying in the regions under National rather than moving to Australia.

“Mr Cunliffe’s claims about the regions hollowing out have proved to be as hollow as most of his other assertions.”

Mr Joyce says the irony is that it is the policies being advanced by Labour and their mates would cause real economic damage to New Zealand.

“Between Labour and the Greens they want to put a capital gains tax on all productive businesses and farms, introduce big freshwater levies, institute a carbon tax that is five times the world price, restore a national award system which would force regional employers to pay wages at the same rate as employers in Auckland, put the brakes on any more trade deals, and clamp down on the dairy industry and oil and gas exploration,” Mr Joyce says.

“That recipe would really damage the regions, and it would take a lot more than a $200 million slush fund to solve it.

“This Government’s comprehensive Business Growth Agenda is doing the hard work alongside regional New Zealand to lift our competitiveness and encourage investment right across the country. We are focused on working with regional businesses, and the evidence is there in the growth of job opportunities across the country.

“Over recent weeks we have seen a parade of Labour MPs that have broken ranks with their party because of its negative attitude to the regions and the list gets longer by the day. Shane Jones, Andrew Little, Damien O’Connor, Rino Tirakatene, Kelvin Davis and now Dover Samuels have all spoken out against Labour’s regional development policies. I suspect the public will take much more notice of them than of David Cunliffe.”

ENDS

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