Young focuses on tourism and education

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 12/07/2014

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Adventure tourism in Taranaki and a new education initiative supporting former inmates are on the political agenda for Taranaki if National is re-elected in September.

New Plymouth National MP Jonathan Young launched his election campaign at the Plymouth Hotel last night, and Conservation Minister Nick Smith flew in for the occasion.

Labour list MP and New Plymouth candidate Andrew Little will officially launch his campaign next month and party leader David Cunliffe is expected to be in New Plymouth for the event.

Green Party candidate Sarah Roberts is also out on the hustings.

Her campaign, which was launched last month, is about a clean green economy which works for everyone, she said.

Last night Young said Taranaki had been a strong contributor to New Zealand's economic success, with the highest GDP per capita in the country, and strong economic growth in the past five years.

There were three major road projects, which were either on the cards or had already begun - Vickers to City, which started this week; Normanby Overbridge, which will start next year; and SH3 Mt Messenger and Awakino Gorge will be starting in the next couple of years.

"We have a brand-new $80 million hospital, a $17.25m police station and the $4m contribution by the Government to the Len Lye Centre will see an iconic centre that will have international acclaim."

One of his key priorities in the next three years was to encourage more participation in early child education, Young said.

"For that reason, tonight when we auction the book on John Key, signed by the prime minister himself, the total proceeds are going to the YMCA's Infancy Centre they are establishing in Waitara."

Young used the launch to announce a new initiative, which was like a sister organisation to Taranaki Futures, he said.

The project will be working with the Department of Corrections and other agencies to get young men and women into work after prison or community sentences.

In his "next term of government" Young wants to enhance tourism in Taranaki.

"Our regional economy is buoyed by agriculture and petroleum, but we have an opportunity to broaden the base of our economy."

The region was good at event tourism, such as Womad and the garden festival, he said.

"People come here to go to something. I believe we can really build educational and cultural tourism - but what I want to focus on right now is Taranaki adventure tourism."

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