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Regional GDP figures out today from Stats NZ provide a further benchmark for the new Government to live up to, National Party Regional Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

Growth figures of 9 per cent in the Bay of Plenty, 8.2 per cent in each of the Waikato and Northland, 7.9 per cent in Southland and 7.1 per cent in Otago in the year to March 2017 are clear proof that the regions have been thriving and not struggling as the rhetoric would have it,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“For New Zealand’s sake, we need that growth to continue. The challenge for the new Government is to keep these numbers up and not do anything to stuff them up.

“The previous Government’s consistent sensible economic policies have encouraged investment in the regions and brought in skilled people to work for growing regional companies.

“The new Government clearly needs to stay the course with that approach and not head down the haphazard inconsistent path of Shane Jones which will only discourage private sector investment.

“Regional GDP growth has now averaged 26.2 per cent over the last five years while Northland has grown at 30 per cent.

“The figures also contain a warning for the anti-oil and gas crowd. They show that Taranaki is our wealthiest region but also hasn’t grown much recently. It would only take a continuation of the sort of rhetoric we’ve seen in the last week to send Taranaki backwards.

“Regional development is all about applying predictable coherent economic policies that businesses can base their investment decisions on, and building the infrastructure that people actually use.

“If the coalition Government still says the regions are struggling I look forward to seeing their growth figures exceed these in the years ahead.”

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