Regional New Zealand will be feeling let down about all the hoopla around the new Government's provincial growth fund with the announcements made today, Opposition Leader Bill English says.
“The Government’s Provincial Growth Fund so far is nothing more than a rebranding of National’s Regional Growth Programme and falls well short of the high expectations it's created,” Mr English says.
“Labour and New Zealand First spent years slamming National for ‘neglecting the regions’ but the first thing they do when they get into Government is re-announce largely the same projects.
“The money to open rail lines is fine but what regional businesses want to know is whether the Government’s negative policies for regional New Zealand will still go ahead.
“This investment won't compensate for bad employment law, bad immigration policy, and restricting foreign investment.
“Their only criteria for success over the first three years is spending money. All other reviews of the fund’s effectiveness are delayed until after the 2020 election.
“The hard decisions of funding this programme have been kicked down the track to Budget 2018 which Labour has already overcommitted.
“National’s Regional Growth Programme and record investment in infrastructure was already contributing to a record number of jobs and rising incomes across regional New Zealand.
“New Zealanders will be disappointed today that Mr Jones’ soaring campaign rhetoric has resulted in business-as-usual.”