New Zealand First’s Campaign for the Regions which was launched yesterday contains a number of commitments Local Government New Zealand welcomes.
Ensuring regional New Zealand is positioned to thrive in the coming years has long been a key driver of LGNZ’s work.
Key issues that have been the focus of LGNZ work, including calls for a sustainable, long-term funding system for tourism infrastructure, royalties from extractive industries remaining in the regions, the need for improved broadband in rural areas and improved water policy are echoed in the NZ First campaign.
LGNZ Vice President Dave Cull says it is pleasing to see the needs of regional New Zealand raised by one of the political parties set to figure in the 2017 election.
“Through the tourism and agriculture industries our regions are the economic powerhouse of New Zealand and need to be supported by a funding regime that more fairly allocates the benefits of these activities to alleviate the burden on ratepayers,” Mr Cull says.
“There are big challenges facing our regions in the coming years, including urbanisation, technological changes and an ageing population, and we need to see a commitment from an incoming government to ensure that the cultural, economic, environmental and social well-being of our rural areas and smaller towns is preserved and enhanced.
“It is also important to recognise that growing metropolitan areas are under funding stress too – a point acknowledged by Mr Peters in his speech. These areas would benefit from similar funding policies to pay for needed infrastructure.”