Who cares about the regions?

The regions are a foreign country to most opposition MPs.

They visit occasionally, grab a headline about how bad things are and pop back to the safety of a city.

While there they try to show they care, but their policies give the lie to that:

There would be a bleak future for New Zealand’s regions if a Labour/Greens/Internet/Mana Party coalition became Government after the next election, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“A number of election policies released in the last couple of days show that the regions would be in for a dramatic and long term slowdown if there was to be a change in Government after September 20,” Mr Joyce says.

“Cartoon-like policies from the Greens and the Internet Mana Party against fresh water usage and oil and gas exploration and in favour of big new carbon taxes show how little they understand what drives most jobs and incomes in regional New Zealand. Thirteen of our 16 regions have a big stake in industries based on our natural resources and there would be thousands and thousands of job losses if their policies came to pass.

“The Greens and Internet Mana want the regions to sacrifice most of their livelihoods for holier-than-thou policies that would achieve little except making New Zealanders a lot poorer. The worrying part is that these sort of attitudes would drive any post-election Labour coalition.

“On top of that, the Labour Party mounted a very lukewarm and half-hearted defence of the oil and gas industry on Saturday. Either David Shearer is being controlled by the left wing of the Labour Caucus or he knows it’s all a bit pointless because any left wing coalition energy policy would be run by the Greens with help from Laila Harre and Hone Harawira.”

Mr Joyce says regional New Zealand knows how to balance the environment and the economy to ensure sustainable economic growth.

“This government is working with the regions to lift economic growth and job opportunities while improving environmental outcomes,” Mr Joyce says. “The left talks about the regions but promotes policies that would do real damage to them.

“The stark reminder we have received this weekend is that regional New Zealand would be completely nailed by a Labour/Greens/Internet/Mana coalition.”

 Labour and the GIMPs would take New Zealand backwards.

All primary industries would face more regulation, more restrictions, higher costs and more and higher taxes.

That would result in less production, fewer jobs, lower profits and as a result of that the tax take from them would be lower even though the tax rates would be higher.

One of the reasons New Zealand has survived the global financial crisis and is beginning to prosper is the strength of primary industries.

Any progress would be reversed if Labour and the GIMPs were in government.

They only care about the regions for show.

National by contrast has MPs in all but a couple of provincial seats, knows the regions, understand their issues and governs for all New Zealand – not just the urban liberals to whom Labour and the GIMPs are targeting their policies.

17 Responses to Who cares about the regions?

  1. Angry Tory says:

    No-one has cared about the regions since 1945.

    The election (and every coming election) is a simple battle for turnout between the hard left (socialist) Auckland “working for families” suburbs (voting National) and the extreme left (communist) DBP & Dole suburbs (voting Labour).

    We know how to fix this properly: reintroduce the “country quota”, or better still, move to “geographically proportional electorates”.

    Under MMP, an electorate-only Country party could take 10-15 electorate seats of National, guaranteeing an overhang and thus a National government —- until Labour & the Greens set up an electorate-only Bludger party to do exactly the same thing

  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry Ele, this is utter nonsense. The high New Zealand dollar and the focus on primary industries has caused an imbalance and we have had huge job losses in the regions as many manufacturers have gone under and laid off staff (over 40,000 jobs lost). The National Government has centralized the state sector and removed regional staff in Inland Revenue, Housing NZ and DoC. The down sizing of Invermay has caused much concern for southern farmers.

    The Government has been crowing about the benefits to Taranaki from the oil industry but the reality is that much of the money is going out of the region or isn’t benefiting all communities. Many smaller communities are seriously struggling and fracking has actually had a negative effect in the places where it has a high presence.

    The Greens would give regions and communities greater autonomy in deciding the direction of future economic developments. By reducing the value of our dollar, investing more in R&D and cutting the cost of electricity we could make a huge difference to the regions. We need to encourage vibrancy, innovation and diversity not more and more oil exploration and dairying.

    It is National that has simplistic cartoon like thinking, supporting mining, milk and monopolies is as simplistic as it gets.

  3. Gravedodger says:

    I am curious as to the negatives from Hydraulic fracturing you claim Dave. Maybe a graphic showing the published known positives and your list of negatives.
    As a fixed income pensioner enjoying retirement after a productive life I also wonder why you are so intent on destroying the simple advantages I get from the strong dollar, travel, fuel and consumer imports among them.
    Then again there is the well signaled and promised devaluation of my dwindling savings.
    I am wondering if you highlight those potential downsides to those in similar circumstances to me on the CampaignTrail or dont we matter to you and yours. Just collateral damage I guess.

    You also omit, quite innocently I am sure the simple facts as to how cutting infrastructure spend, creating rising unemployment in the regions, increasing fuel and electricity costs, and all the while ensuring the productive bureaucracy can come out to the “blast from the past” regions to get away from it all, on bicycles and dirt tracks of course.

  4. jabba says:

    hey Dave .. I tried to get your mad mate to tell us all what you want the NZ dollar to be v the US dollar .. can you help?

  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    Talk to farmers in Taranaki and they will tell you about the huge increase of truck traffic that accompanies fracking. If you refuse to have crackers on your farm they may do so on a neighboring one and still frack underneath you. If your house starts shaking and living beside a fracking drill becomes intolerable, the industry will put you up in alternative accommodation for free as long as you sign a gagging agreement. We are experiencing everything that the farmers in Australia are suffering, the Lock the Gate Alliance was started with farmers and they actually approached environmentalists to support them: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/nsw_government_changes_law_to_fast_track_csg_fracking_at_gloucester

  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    Jabba, according to the Peterson Institute of International Economics our dollar is the most over valued currency in the world. I’m not sure what it should really, but they suggest about 74c compared to the US dollar and not around 85c. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11272135

  7. Southern says:

    I live in the regions Dave, our company is experiencing huge growth, we have record staff numbers and are rebuilding to cope with demand. I work with, and am in business with many other business’s and they are the same, too much work with a huge lead time for more bookings, and these companies are from all over NZ.

    You can run around with your arms over your head crying about the falling sky, but all that is going to happen is you will get tired arms. The rest of us are just too busy working.

  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Good on you, Southern, I agree that is is not all hopeless (depending on your business), but it could be a darn sight better. It also depends if the current growth is sustainable, because many economic forecasters don’t think it is.

    I hardly think I am running around like Chicken Licken, I am only repeating what many expert commentators are saying and suggesting solutions. If anyone is running around like headless chooks it some here who talk about what could happen if the Greens got into Government. Remember we fronted the Buy Kiwi Made campaign that was ditched by National and are supported by many in the manufacturing sector.

  9. Mr E says:

    “over valued” – suggests people are paying more than it is worth. I’d say phrases like that also suggest there is likely to be correction at some stage.

    Greens are wanting to do things that will eventually be priced in by the market place.

  10. Southern says:

    I don’t buy Kiwi made as a point, I want the best product for my money and that often means buying from offshore.
    I find most people I know find the ‘Buy Kiwi’ is irrelevant when it comes to their personal money. I bet if you were to look into your wardrobe there wouldn’t be much, if any Kiwi made clothes, shoes, or even ties. Try looking at your tools, the desk you sit at and the chair you sit on, won’t be much Kiwi made there.
    It’s great in theory and makes fantastic sound bites for a politician, but in practice , Kiwi made can be too expensive.
    However in saying that, all the manufacturing I’m involved in, and that is about 10,000,000 for me per year of recent times and over 70,000,000 for my company is all in NZ. NZ has become more price relevant I feel with the demise of unions, and before you start to cry foul, the workers in my industry are averaging over $20 per hour for laborers and over $30 for tradesman.
    With unions killing places like Hillside, it has meant that the private companies have taken up the slack and are doing very nicely.

  11. farmerbraun says:

    “The Greens would give regions and communities greater autonomy in deciding the direction of future economic developments. By reducing the value of our dollar, investing more in R&D and cutting the cost of electricity we could make a huge difference to the regions.”

    I would suggest that you get local governments off our backs; leave the dollar alone (who needs cost inflation?) ; leave the R+D to those companies who want it for commercial objectives ; and get a fair feed-in tariff for private local generation of electricity.

    In other words . . a level playing field will do thanks . . and reduce the dead-weight of central government.
    Can’t be Greener than that right? It’s sustainable 🙂

  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    It is smarter regulation we need, FB, not no regulation. Every time we allow self regulation and a ‘free for all’ it has costly ramifications and huge social and environmental damage. Deregulating the building industry is still costing us billions every year in fixing leaky buildings and talk to Pike River families how they feel about deregulation and industry self management. Somehow I don’t think we would have the same idea of what a level playing field would look like.

    A fair economy would be one that widely consults and actually listens. Where companies have some certainty of costs and future expectations and workers are valued and paid livable wages. We also need to develop sustainable industries that are value added and have a global brand that is respected and will open wider markets.

    Smart local Government in Dunedin years ago saw a hydro electric power scheme established that would have made the city cheap to live in and energy independent if they hadn’t been forced to give it up to Max Bradford’s silly scheme. I agree with you about a fair deal for privately produced electricity too.

    There is good and bad in any system but just letting the the dollar rule has never worked, we need a forward thinking progressive government that looks at what actually works and what would provide long term advantage.

  13. The Greens, The Greens, The Greens – it’s all you ever talk about here. If you love them so much, marry them!

  14. farmerbraun says:

    “It is smarter regulation we need, FB, not no regulation. ”

    No disagreement there. But the dollar value cannot be regulated in the longer term ; it is all about supply/demand /yield. A weaker dollar is the last thing that I would want anyway.

    workers “paid livable wages. ” But who should decide what ‘livable” means? Every individual has different needs as well as expectations. I believe that people still need to “cut their cloth to fit” ; I know that sentiment is dreadfully old-fashioned, but to go into debt to gain the “necessities” (so-called) of modern life is just foolish.

    It is very difficult for the individual , the group , or the nation to take sensible measures for the long term , when in the short term we must service very large debts.
    Getting the nation out of debt is a prerequisite to any sort of freedom as to our future direction

  15. farmerbraun says:

    “The Greens – it’s all you ever talk about here.”

    I didn’t raise the issue.

  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    “It is very difficult for the individual , the group , or the nation to take sensible measures for the long term , when in the short term we must service very large debts.”

    Which is why we need to look at our relationship with Australian Banks and how we manage our procurement. We should be using our own manufacturers more to keep the money and jobs in the country and not continually adding to Govt debt and our huge current account deficit.

  17. farmerbraun says:

    But Dave the debt has not been incurred in obtaining the necessities of life; it has largely been incurred in obtaining the ” tricks and trinkets”.
    If we had spent the money on making individual, groups and the nation more resilient ; more sustainable ; then we wouldn’t have a problem.
    In other words , it’s not the debt per se; it’s what it was spent on.

    What is the plan to change human nature?
    A dose of Muldoonism? Good luck with that 🙂

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