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Wanganui economy shows regional developmet need

Wanganui economy shows need for regional development policies

A far-sighted regional development policy is needed to rejuvenate the Wanganui economy, Alliance leader Jim Anderton said today.

Visiting Wanganui on the 90-town Alliance towns tour, Jim Anderton said fifteen years of free market economics have devastated Wanganui.

'The only way to turn it around is for the Government to invest in regional economies in partnership with the private sector to develop innovative, high-tech industries that create thousands of highly-paid, high-quality, high-skill jobs with a pe rmanent future.

'In 1986 there were 15,225 full time jobs in Wanganui.

A decade later, there were only 13,364, a loss of 12.2% of all jobs.

Only Whangarei and Gisborne lost a higher proportion of full time jobs.

'When free market policies began in 1984 there were 1678 registered unemployed in Wanganui.

By the time Ruth Richardson read the National Party's first budget in 1991, there were 4303 unemployed.

When the coalition collapsed in August last year, 4677 people were! registered unemployed.

In the latest figures, 4802 Wanganui people were out of work.

In fifteen years of free market economics, unemployment has tripled.

'The solution was to promote regional development, and Jim Anderton said he was determined to take over responsibility for economic development.

'In most other parts of the world, Governments are investing heavily in their regions because they recognise that weak regions ultimately make everyone worse off.

'I want to see genuine new technology industries l ike Tait electronics, employing thousands of people and exporting, like Tait's, $150 million a year.

There is no reason why Wanganui couldn't have two or three of those companies, each exporting $150 million a year or more.

'The Alliance is going to provide venture capital and a wide range of other forms of assistance to help new businesses get going in the regions, to create those new industries,' Jim Anderton said.


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