Labour pledges spend another $200m in regions

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Image: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

Labour has announced a $200 million fund to support economic development plans in the regions, as part of its election manifesto.

The Government has also allocated $42 billion for capital projects such as new roads, schools, hospitals and shovel-ready projects across the country to help stimulate growth and create jobs as a key plank in COVID recovery.

“Investing in our regions has been a priority for our government over the last three years and will be a feature of our COVID recovery,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“The Coalition Government allocated over $3 billion through the PGF to boost growth in our regions. Approved projects are at a variety of stages of implementation, and will take some time to come to full fruition. We are committed to seeing individually approved projects through to completion.

“Any PGF funding that has been allocated to sectors but is not yet tagged to a specific project will be reviewed with a view to redistributing it to the regional plans.

“The PGF has delivered significant support into our regions, but the fund was only ever resourced for three years. We now want to take the lessons from this support and work to develop a new approach to regional development. We want this to be driven by regions from the ground up.

“Every region has a role to play in our recovery and they know what their own strengths are – our new more targeted $200 million fund will support them to put their tailored plans in place. Over the course of the next term we will work with regions on the further development and funding of these plans, particularly in light of the COVID-19 recovery and rebuild.

Regional Economic Development Spokesperson Phil Twyford says, “Backing our regions for recovery is one part of our plan to keep New Zealand moving, complementing our long-term infrastructure plan to provide a pipeline of projects across state housing, transport, schools hospitals, waste and water, and our free apprenticeships and trades training to build a workforce for the future.”

“We stand on our record of investment in our regions, including spending $8 billion through the New Zealand Upgrade programme. This includes more than $200m to improve Wellington’s rail network, including work on the Wairarapa line and a second platform for the station here in Featherston.”

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