Govt is backing the regions

Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust  chairman Margaret  Hopkins, Maggie Barry, Sarah Dowie, and Southland District Council ...
Kavinda Herath

Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust chairman Margaret Hopkins, Maggie Barry, Sarah Dowie, and Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong , at the announcement of $1 million funding for the centre

This Government is dedicated to regional growth and has a comprehensive vision for future development by working alongside locals to develop their strengths and back their success.

Since March,12 out of New Zealand's 15 regions grew in the year to March 2016. Moreover, GDP stats released by Statistics New Zealand show across New Zealand the average growth for the year was 4.1 per cent. 

In Southland, our economy has grown by over 22 per cent since this Government was elected and over 1500 new jobs were created last year.

Dairy and agricultural production is back on the rise and other industries are experiencing strong growth, particularly manufacturing and tourism. 

This growth is great but we can do better and this Government is making sure the regions fully unlock their potential by supporting local initiatives and investing in infrastructure and people.

Southland is continuing to grow through infrastructure projects such as the $16 million to update SH1 at Edendale.

We have also invested $2 billion to get fibre throughout the country, including $13.3 million to bring fibre to Bluff, Otatara, Riverton West, Te Anau and Winton.

Last year the Government backed the Southland Regional Development Strategy with a $2.4 million investment.

This included $950,000 for the possible development of local aquaculture to diversify our regional economy. 

This Government believes in identifying opportunities and investing in their success such as when Hon Minister Maggie Barry and I travelled to Stewart Island last month to announce the Government's investment of over $1 million for the development of the Rakiura Heritage Centre to further boost local tourism. 

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The regions are crying out for more workers and its time to match unemployed youth with real jobs in our regions. That's why the Government is dedicating $50 million to get unemployed youth working. 

I am also pleased to see the Government has listened to Southland over an issue I have strongly advocated,  with a one-off pathway to residence for 4000 long-term temporary migrant workers living in the South Island who help fill genuine skill shortages and are well settled in our community. 

Furthermore, the Government is committed to delivering world-class support services in the regions. Southern DHB's funding has increased $226 million over the last 9 years taking its total budget this year to $923 million. Rural mental wellness has also received an extra $500,000.

The regions are growing strong but there is always more work to do. However, with this Government backing the regions and investing in their future, our regions are set to continue to deliver for all New Zealanders. 

 - Stuff

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