The Opposition has a propensity for shedding crocodile tears about the regions.
Like many of the other areas they’ve tried to say are in crisis, the reverse is true:
Economic Recovery—Role of Regional Economies 8. LOUISE UPSTON (National – Taupō) to the Minister for Economic Development: What reports has he received on how the regions contributed to New Zealand’s economic recovery?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development): Yes, I have received a variety of reports that indicate that the regions have led New Zealand’s recovery out of the global financial crisis. The recent regional GDP data released by Statistics New Zealand shows that regions like the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson-Tasman, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland all experienced growth above the national average for the 5-year period from 2008 to 2013. I have also received the recent ANZ Regional Trends report, which notes that 11 regions reported growth in the first quarter of 2014. The Nelson-Marlborough economy has risen for 12 consecutive quarters, the Bay of Plenty economy has risen for nine quarters in a row, while ANZ estimates that Northland grew at 7.4 percent in the last year.
Louise Upston: What policies has the Government put in place to strengthen the regions?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve their potential. That is precisely what the Government’s Business Growth Agenda is all about. So here is a list of just a few of the things that we are doing to help grow jobs and investment in regions around New Zealand—
Hon Member: Where are the jobs?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: —84,000 in the last 12 months—all of which sit alongside the big investment in regional roads announced by the Prime Minister at the weekend. These include our Rural Broadband Initiative project in ultra-fast broadband, Primary Growth Partnerships, Callaghan Innovation’s research and development funding, the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise regional business partners programme— . . .
But this good work won’t continue if there’s a chance in government.
Louise Upston: What policies would, in his view, hold the regions back from growing strongly and delivering more jobs and more growth?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen a number of policies advocated that would hold the regions back. For example, a carbon price that is five times the world price would hold New Zealand’s regions back; a capital gains tax on every productive business and farm in the country, while exempting two-thirds of residential property, would harm regional New Zealand; stopping people using wind-blown timber on the West Coast would hold that region back; rolling back reforms of the Resource Management Act would hold all our regions back; and policies that are anti-trade, anti-investment, anti – oil and gas, anti-dairy, and anti anything that develops our national resources would hold our regions back, and those—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I think we have all got the picture.
Trevor Mallard’s bird-brained idea of resurrecting the moa provided inspiration for several answers at Question Time yesterday, including this one:
Louise Upston: What recent innovative ideas for regional development has he seen that merit closer attention?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen one as late as this morning that I could only describe as genius. A gentleman has proposed the resuscitation of our extinct flightless bird known as the moa. I think this is a serious proposal that requires some examination. It shows the value of having somebody with this gentleman’s long experience around in the policy development process. He is probably the only member who can personally recall how successful—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! . . .
Actually, the moa idea would be a lot less dangerous to the regions than the other anti-growth policies promoted by the opposition.
That’s not to give any credence to the idea, it just highlights how bad the rest of them are.