Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges has joined thousands of people on the West Cost as they rally against the Government’s assault on the region.
“The West Coast is full of hardworking and passionate New Zealanders. Many of their livelihoods depend on the land and the Government wants to rip that out from under them.
“The Government is making a full frontal assault on this region. It is attempting to ban whitebaiting, it’s banning mining on all conservation land, blocking the Waitaha Hydro Scheme and putting tough restrictions on farming. All of these things are the lifeblood of the West Coast.
“Coasters have had enough and I don’t blame them. Today I am announcing Maureen Pugh as National’s spokesperson for the West Coast. There is too much at stake for this region and they need a strong advocate.
“Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor seem intent on destroying the West Coast economy and the way of life of Coasters.
“The sad thing is that Damien O’Connor is the local MP and he has completely disregarded the concerns of his constituents for his party’s ideology.
“I went to the Coast today to show my support for the region. A National Government would give approval for the Waitaha Power Scheme, we will use scientific evidence and facts before making decisions about farming and aquaculture and we will allow access to stewardship land on a case by case basis.
“The West Coast is another of New Zealand’s proud regions getting the rough end of the stick from this Government. We need to build a strong West Coast, not make it dependent on government handouts.”