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Kick-starting Regional Development

Written By: - Date published: 11:02 am, July 22nd, 2014 - 35 comments
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David Cunliffe has announced Labour’s Regional Development policy today. Labour will work in partnership with regions and put $200 million into a Regional Growth Fund fund to resource regional projects that will create jobs and drive local initiative.

David Cunliffe said in his speech to the Local Government Conference today

I don’t think there’s anyone in this room who doesn’t know of at least one project that would help grow their regions wealth, but that can’t get across the line because of a lack of available investment. In my time as regional development spokesperson I’ve seen more than a few. They’re ideas like the Opotiki harbour development which would create nearly 300 jobs – in a town with twice the national rate of people on
the benefit. And the tragic events of recent weeks indicate the importance of creating jobs in communities like that. Or ideas like the Gisborne to Napier Rail line which could be crucial for the efficient processing of East Coast timber and providing a sustainable future – a back bone to the east coast. Or rebuilding Dunedin’s heavy engineering, or accelerating its knowledge industries in the wake of years of the current government’s neglect.

Labour’s initiative is timely. Shamubeel Eaqub of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has been warning of the danger of unbalanced development in New Zealand’s regions and the Royal Society released a report recently warning of the same danger. Eaqub admits he doesn’t have the answers; but Labour’s timely initiative will offer some hope to these regions, and in the best development tradition, of building on local initiative.

The full policy document is here.

Update: LGNZ welcomes Labour policy

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule stated welcomed this support for regional economic development, which is one of LGNZ’s key seven strategic policy priorities in the LGNZ Policy Statement and the LGNZ 2014 Manifesto that was released this morning.

“Activity that helps regions is important but it needs to be sustainable. New Zealand’s economic growth strategy needs to consider the nation as a whole and the needs of its regions. We need to find ways to make our regional centres attractive for investment and for skilled migrants to settle. For this to occur, there needs to be a shared national strategy developed with central government.”

“LGNZ is also advocating for the distribution of a share of royalties from mineral, oil and gas extraction to the communities where it takes place,” Mr Yule says.


35 comments on “Kick-starting Regional Development”

  1. Clemgeopin 1

    The main points in summary are:
    Labour will:
    ƒƒ Develop Regional Growth Plans in partnership with local government, business,
    and iwi to identify opportunities and barriers to growth, and working groups to
    overcome them
    ƒƒ Make an initial investment of least $200 million over four years in a Regional
    Development Fund for projects that create jobs and growth
    ƒƒ Support manufacturing in the regions through the R&D tax credit, accelerated
    depreciation, and our monetary policy upgrade
    ƒƒ Ensure that government bodies buy from Kiwi manufacturers
    whenever possible
    ƒƒ Redirect capital from housing speculation into productive investment
    ƒƒ Appoint a Minister of Regional Development at Cabinet level
    ƒƒ Integrate the Regional Development Fund with a national ports strategy and
    regional transport investment
    ƒƒ Invest in upgrading regional ICT
    ƒƒ Invest in youth training and skills in the regions
    ƒƒ Look for opportunities to locate government operations in the regions where
    practical and cost-effective

    See the details in the link given in the article above.

    • Chooky 1.1

      David Cunliffe is getting into his stride….watch out Nactional John Key!

      • Chris 1.1.1

        Well, I guess we can rely on LGNZ’s vote so there’s one more. Awh, hang on, LGNZ can’t vote only people can. Oh, well…

  2. Saarbo 2

    Another excellent Labour announcement, timely given the collapse of the international dairy market.

  3. minarch 3

    Ive always thought some focus should be put on encouraging migrants to move to these regions

    maybe extra “points” on your INZ application ?

    • sweetd 3.1

      “Ive always thought some focus should be put on encouraging migrants to move to these regions, maybe extra “points” on your INZ application ?”

      How would you then keep people in the regions after they arrive?

      • McFlock 3.1.1

        Do them for immigration fraud if they move within two years without telling the authorities so their points can be reviewed.

      • Chooky 3.1.2

        i dont think this is a winner!…competition for cheaper houses and scarce jobs?!…NO NO NO!

        ….definitely a no no to new immigrants ….but a welcome to returning New Zealanders

  4. Ad 4

    Great that he sees local government as real partners, rather than as pothole fixers.

    Also loved linking the regional economic development fund to the transport and ports strategies.

  5. mickysavage 5

    Good stuff.

    But why oh why does Fairfax go with a headline based on a comment from Key panning our policies, start the article with his comments before announcing the details? They seem to do it all the time …


  6. Tracey 6

    Thanks for this posting

  7. KJT 7

    Happy to eat humble pie, and say this is excellent policy from Labour.

    Now, please, please, none of the Labour MP’s put their foot in their mouth again.

    And DC. Please don’t apologise and play down, or retract your comments about domestic violence. They were entirely appropriate and well said in the context they were used. This white hetero male tradesman stands right behind what you said.

    Unfortunately anything that doesn’t suit the current power paradigm will be mis-reported and spun no matter what.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Yes it is good policy. It’s also about 1/20 of the size that I would like to see it at. At $50M p.a. you can expect perhaps an extra 3,000 to 4,000 jobs to be created and sustained in the regions.

      • srylands 7.1.1

        It is a stupid policy. Form a Government with the Greens. Introduce anti-growth policy settings. Then tax the productive parts of the economy (what is left of it) to subsidise non-economic “projects” in declining parts of the economy.

        Those regions that have a comparative advantage are doing fine. They don’t need subsidies – which is all this policy is. Those that are not fine can change or die. Or they can become cheap housing dormitories for the feckless and unemployable.

        • KJT

          Still fantasising about unlimited growth in a finite world, Srylands?

        • Clemgeopin

          “Or they can become cheap housing dormitories for the feckless and unemployable.”

          How about we banish all the nasty right wing rogues to the provinces then? You could be their marvelous mayor.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That has got to be the most psychopathic rant I’ve seen out of you so far.

        • meconism

          Feckless?! What sort of asshole uses feckless, where are you the fuckin the 1930s? Fuck off with your fecklessness you wanker.

        • millsy


          How is keeping our rivers clean ‘anti-growth’.

  8. deep throat 8

    The problem of emptying out the countryside is not unique to New Zealand.
    The French government has been trying to reverse this trend for years and they have mainly attracted overseas tax evaders.
    The south of France is a sunny place for shady people.
    And it is no good setting up projects that become money spinners for the holders of the contracts to provide services.
    Real thought has to go into this if anything positive is to be achieved.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      To prevent emptying out of the regions, money has to be spent into and circulated around the regions. People are acting like its some huge mystery.

    • Chooky 8.2

      +100 deep throat…or it could backfire badly in the Election

  9. Kat 9

    Northland the region that has always had marginal road quality. It does have a rail network though, albeit it nearly in mothballs. A functioning rail service for heavy goods such as logs should be a top priority for the next Labour govt. I suspect the major challenge will be getting the cow cockies to give up the love affair with big trucks.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      Widen the gauge, or develop high speed trains for narrow-gauge tracks.

      • Kat 9.1.1

        Widen the gauge, high speed trains not suited to the terrain. Widening the tracks would help solve the unemployment issue and support local business in Northland and elsewhere. Just put the money in, get it done and move on. Reopen the works at Hillside Engineering, direct some capital into R&D for upgrading rolling stock and open up some apprenticeships.

        All too simple eh. But unfortunately it doesn’t suit farm gate politics and the transport industry so most likely will never happen. Unless we have VERY strong Labour govt.

  10. Clemgeopin 10

    Regional Development is one of the MOST needed important goals. I listened to hourly news on RNZ and NTZB at two different hourly news (at 1pm and 3 pm I think)and was disappointed that neither of those bulletins mentioned today’s Labour announcement about their Regional Development plans. It will be interesting to see if the TV1 and RV3 6 pm bulletins carry it or not.
    Our MSM is very pathetic as they thrive on sound bites and trivia excessively rather than be a responsible fair arm of democracy.

    • Clemgeopin 10.1

      Just as I suspected!

      TV3 had NOTHING on this policy (as far as I could see. Zilch. Nada ! Gower was still concentrating on Cunliffe’s three day holiday)

      TV1 made a brief mention turning it into a farce report without any policy detail.

      What a pathetic dumb stupid news media we have in such a vital policy as the Regional Development!

  11. Adrian 11

    It’s going to get worse. The nastiest piece of work in the world has moved to buy all of Fairfax today. Gina Rhienhart, who has refused to sign the agreement for Editorial Independence for the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Thats why this shit is coming out of the Fairfax rags here. The journalists either lick arse or get the arse. Bloody bitch.

    • Saarbo 11.1

      Yes, it is hard work being a lefty these days. We need civics in secondary school, at around year 10. Quite frankly if a kid doesn’t have parents interested in politics, and not many are then they leave school with absolutely no idea of politics. Seems absurd.

  12. Allyson 12

    So do we get to pick up fallen trees and mill them or what?

  13. millsy 13

    Labour wants to build things up.

    National want to tear things down.

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