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Handouts from the Shane Jones’ provincial slush fund are a very poor substitute for policies that encourage regions to grow and succeed, National Party Regional Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The Government is playing a massive confidence trick on regional New Zealand by introducing numerous policies that will damage regional economies and then turning up with a few handouts and expecting that to compensate for the damage,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“Today Shane Jones has landed in Taranaki which just happens to have a massive cloud over its economy because of the Government’s attitude to the region’s crucial oil and gas industry.

“And he expects a few cheques for feasibility studies and the Cathedral to cover that off. Well it won’t, especially when the previous government had already announced much of this funding, including for the Cathedral before the last election.

“This is occurring in a week where the Government has continued to put the boot into regional New Zealand by hiking road taxes and decreasing regional roading investment, and then cancelling irrigation funding.

“If you take that along with their policies of stopping international investment in the primary sector, regional New Zealand will definitely be thinking they’ve been sold a pup with this Shane Jones fund.

“Mr Jones needs to front up to Taranaki business leaders and the gas industry today and tell them he’ll back them and ensure they can continue to benefit Taranaki and the wider economy.

“If he can’t do that he has simply become an apologist for the Labour-Green policies that are steadily dealing to regional New Zealand.”

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