Cunliffe’s gloom not supported by stats

Labour leader David Cunliffe dashed out a media release on Monday saying the census would show a regional exodus under National.

Census data being released tomorrow will depict a widespread exodus from the regions as provincial New Zealanders flee small towns forgotten by the National Government, Labour Leader and Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

“Labour understands data being released tomorrow will show Kiwis are leaving towns that have been gutted by the hands off approach of this National Government.. .

But his understanding was wrong and his gloom is not supported by the statistics.

Results from the 2013 Census shows Labour and its leader have been caught making stuff up with population growth spread right across the country, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Population growth occurred in 15 of the country’s 16 regions between 2006 and 2013 – hardly the widespread exodus from the regions as claimed by the Leader of the Opposition,” Mr Joyce says.

“Mr Cunliffe claimed people were leaving regions such as Taranaki in droves. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Taranaki grew by 5.3 per cent between 2006 and 2013 and has 5484 extra people now living in the region.

“He is also way off beam with his claims that incomes in the regions have fallen.

“Mr Cunliffe stated that real median weekly incomes have dropped by $24 in Taranaki. Wrong again. Since the 2006 income survey, real after tax weekly incomes in Taranaki have increased by $85. And the other examples he used for Southland and Waikato are also totally incorrect.

“This is a stunt that has backfired. There will be red faces all round in Labour following David Cunliffe’s embarrassing exaggerations and made up statistics.

“Labour will clearly stop at nothing to talk down the good progress being made across our regional economies.

“It confirms a bad start in the integrity stakes for the new Labour leader. He’ll have to do a lot better than this if he wants the public to trust him.”

The media release from Statistics NZ says Auckland grew fastest and South Island Districts grew most.

. . . “After Auckland, Nelson was the next-fastest-growing region, followed by Waikato. Southland turned around a declining population, growing by over 2,000 people in the seven years since the last census,” Ms MacPherson said. . .

The three fastest rates of population growth in district or city council areas were:

  • Selwyn district, up nearly a third to 44,595 people
  • Queenstown-Lakes district, up 23 percent to 28,224 people
  • Waimakariri district, up 17 percent to 49,989 people.

These three areas were also the fastest-growing between 2001 and 2006.

Earthquake refugees will have boosted population numbers in all three of these Districts but that’s not the only factor as they were growing before the quakes.

There is a case for slower growth in Auckland and faster growth in the regions.

But contrary to Cunliffe’s gloomy forecast, the regions are growing and National’s policies have done far more to help that than Labour’s high tax, high spending agenda would.

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