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Taranaki in recession due to Govt inaction

Andrew Little

Opposition Leader

8 September 2015

Taranaki in recession due to Govt inaction

Taranaki has become the first New Zealand region in the current downturn to enter recession and the blame must be laid squarely at the Government’s feet, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“Taranaki’s economy has contracted for two successive quarters, shrinking by 3% this year. Unemployment is up 44% in the past 12 months and 700 jobs have been lost in that time. That’s a very real human cost after years of the Government failing to invest in the region when milk and oil prices were high.

“Instead of preparing for the inevitable downturn that would come, the Government simply slashed spending in the area, including a $22 million cut to transport funding.

“Taranaki, however, is simply the canary in the coal mine for regional neglect in New Zealand. According to ANZ’s Regional Trends survey, the economies of seven other regions in New Zealand also contracted in the last quarter, including all of the South Island. Our heartland towns are suffering, yet the Government has no plan of action to help.

“For months now we have listened to John Key and Bill English downplay what is really going on in New Zealand. Jobs are falling, unemployment is rising and we have weak growth with record debt. It’s our small towns that feel those effects first and where real efforts must now be directed.

“Taranaki is my home-town, a region with great natural resources and resourceful people. What it needs is real investment by central Government and a commitment to partner in projects where jobs can be created and new industries can blossom.

“When the town was booming, there were Ministers here every couple of weeks. Now you can’t see them for dust. It is not enough to stand on the side-lines cheering during the good times then turn your back when times are tough. Taranaki, and the rest of New Zealand, deserves more than that,” Andrew Little says.


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