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Dr Muriel Newman

Boosting the Regions

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GWheelerTwice a year the Reserve Bank publishes a Financial Stability Report to assess the soundness of New Zealand’s financial sector. A key concern in the Bank’s May report is the impact on the economy of falling dairy prices: “Approximately 25 percent of farmers are estimated to have negative cash flow. Farmers experiencing negative cash flow are likely to cut back on farm development and reduce drawings. With current milk prices near five-year lows, and a weak outlook, it is likely that dairy farmers will face difficult conditions for two consecutive seasons.”

The pressure on the dairy sector is one of the main reasons the government is unlikely to announce a surplus in Thursday’s budget. The impact on regional and provincial New Zealand will be significant. But with only $1 billion of funding set aside for new spending, the money available for regional initiatives will be limited.

In the face of this setback, it is important to consider ways to boost the regions – and the wider economy.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, the Mayor of the Hurunui District Council, Winton Dalley, has provided a lead in a recent speech he gave to The Future of the Heartland Forum:

“My brief is to talk from the District Council perspective about the issues facing our district and particularly our export producers as we contemplate Hurunui’s contribution toward the Government’s goal of doubling export earnings by 2025.”

The Mayor explained that while the region is a key producer of top quality agricultural exports – meat and wool, dairy and wine – it is constrained by a lack of irrigation: “We have high river flows identified as available water to be stored, and we have a number of suitable sites for major water storage, and with approximately 110,000 hectares of land suitable for irrigation, and only approximately 1/3 of that currently irrigated, we have some grossly under utilized assets.”

In spite of a promise by the Mayors of Canterbury to drought proof the region 15 years ago, no real progress has been made.

*Regional Infrastructure Accord

In 2011, the government established the Environmental Protection Agency to address the problem of major infrastructure projects of a national significance being held up unduly by the Resource Management Act. In 2013, they created Special Housing Accords in partnership with the Auckland Council to streamline the consenting process for the building of affordable housing. Now a similar mechanism is needed for major infrastructure projects at a regional level. And with around 95 percent of New Zealand’s rain water flowing out to sea, this should clearly apply to irrigation.

The Mayor outlined the benefits of such a scheme: “The Nation would not be missing out on approximately $1/2billion from this district, at the farm gate per annum, plus the multiplier throughout the national economy and the multiplier of added value for export, if we were able to irrigate the remaining irrigitable area.”

When it comes to government policies that prevent growth, the Mayor noted that: “the RMA process in its current form can frustrate our endeavours.”

* Resource Management Act facilitation

Reform of the Resource Management Act is crucial for New Zealand’s future progress. But until the government is able to pass their changes through Parliament, councils should take a lead by allocating a dedicated staff member to guide and assist applicants through the RMA consenting process. The reality is that if a Council’s consent process is too onerous, expensive, and time wasting, it will drive away people with good ideas. But councils should be making every effort to enable good ideas to be turned into wealth creating projects in their regions.

In his speech, Mayor Dalley was critical of the government’s environmental policy: “The regulatory protection of native biodiversity, outstanding landscapes, and coastal environments has long been and still is a contentious issue in Hurunui. It is unequivocal that the current regulatory rules based approach is counter productive. It is clear that areas protected with the goodwill and pride of landowners ensures more sustainable and higher quality protection. To demand, by punitive regulation, that landowners should bear the cost of protection, the loss of use and production, thereby turning these areas into a liability for them rather than an asset, is short sighted.”

* National Policy Statements need to be re-assessed

If the government imposes environmental goals onto the country through national policy statements, every effort must be taken to ensure they are sensible, affordable, and unable to be captured by local council activists. That means setting definitions and standards, as well as standardising criteria, so that ‘significant’ landscapes, for example, are on a ‘national’, not ‘local’ scale. Furthermore, it means ensuring the goals have been subjected to a rigorous cost benefit analysis to ensure they are ‘reasonable’ before being passed on to councils.

In his speech, Mayor Dalley explained that Hurunui has a small rating base but huge infrastructure costs – especially roading: “The majority of our roads fall into the lowest classification and will ultimately attract lower levels of Government funding, leading to correspondingly low levels of maintenance and reliability”.

* The government should pay rates on conservation land

With the Department of Conservation (DOC) controlling almost a third of New Zealand’s land area, many regions such as Hurunui have significant conservation reserves. The problem is that while visitors to DOC reserves may be high users of roading and other local infrastructure, DOC does not pay rates and therefore does not contribute to their upkeep.

A recent discussion paper by Local Government New Zealand estimated that the cost to the government of paying rates on conservation land was in the region of $40 million. Allocating this to cash-strapped councils would assist them in providing infrastructure and services to the conservation estate.

In his speech, Mayor Dalley touched on employment: “This district has a high reliance on an immigrant workforce, and close to zero local unemployment. Any increased demand for labour would require either better mobilisation of the New Zealand workforce or more convenient policies for recruiting and retaining quality overseas staff.”

* Creating full employment

Motivating the unemployed to move to areas where there are jobs is a key responsibility of government welfare services. Clearly, more clearly needs to be done to ensure that where possible, available jobs go to New Zealanders rather than immigrants.

Councils can also play a crucial role in reducing unemployment. Dale Williams, the former Mayor of Otorahanga, found that many businesses in his district were thinking about relocating because of the difficulty of finding workers. It turned out that the shortage was due to young people leaving the district, as soon as they left school, and not returning. So a trade training centre was set up offering courses designed by local employers. A youth transition programme liased with school leavers fortnightly to support them until they were in training, further education, or employment. By putting the needs of their employers first, youth unemployment in the district dropped to zero – and stayed that way.

Local councils can also take a leadership role in working with central government to bring prosperity back to the provinces.

* Enterprise Zones

Councils in depressed areas should liaise with central government to declare their district an Enterprise Zone. They could offer rates deferment to businesses relocating from elsewhere in the country – or for existing businesses undertaking major expansion – in the same way that most councils will offer rates postponement for some residential ratepayers.

Back in 1980, Richard Izard took advantage of an ‘enterprise’ scheme to set up a specialist saw bade manufacturing business in Wellsford. At its peak, it was the largest producer in the world, employing over 500 people and pumping tens of millions of dollars a year into the local economy.

But while there is much that councils can do to help boost their regions, sometimes it is leadership from central government that is needed. The government’s response to climate change is a case in point. At the present time it is a drain on the whole economy, including the regions, but it has the potential to be turned around.

*Turning climate change from a liability into an asset

The government is presently consulting on New Zealand’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The existing target is to reduce emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. Given that New Zealand’s population was 3.3 million in 1990, is 4.6 million now, and will be well over 5 million by 2030, this sort of emissions reduction target does not make sense – especially when New Zealand already has one of the highest rates of renewable electricity generation in the world, and when almost half of our emissions come from cattle and sheep!

Putting aside the issue of whether there should be a target at all, it is clear that a different approach is needed in the national interest.

Firstly, it is time to demand that the 50 percent of New Zealand’s land area that is in pasture, is treated as a carbon sink that captures and stores atmospheric carbon. Other countries are now doing this and their research shows that grassland farming is a net absorber of greenhouse gases, not a net emitter. This would go some way to establishing a realistic 2030 target.

But secondly, why not develop a national goal of planting 1 million Kauri trees on Department of Conservation land. These native forests would not only reduce greenhouse gases to help meet our target, but some trees could be earmarked for selective logging to provide on-going supplies of quality timber for local artisan businesses. Other native hardwood species could be planted too.

Appropriate tracts of conservation land throughout the country could be earmarked for the Kauri Forest National Project, to provide a focus for communities from one end of New Zealand to the other. Volunteers could help with raising seedlings. Others could help with planting the trees.

Together, grassland farming and the Kauri Forest National Project would create a worthwhile national climate change goal for 2030.

* Civilian Army

Just as Sam Johnson encouraged volunteers to form a Student Army in Christchurch to help with the earthquake clean up, why not form a Civilian Army of volunteers in communities throughout the country to help with the Kauri Forest National Project – and other activities to improve and strengthen local neighbourhoods.

In the same way that the Student Army operates in partnership with local councils and Civil Defence, so too could the Civilian Army. In addition the Army Reserves may be in a position to help. If the unemployed were encouraged to contribute as well, their engagement with the community would undoubtedly assist them in finding employment.

* New industries

To prosper, regions need industries. On the back of the petroleum industry, Taranaki has the highest paid workforce in the country, and with dairying and tourism thriving as well, the myth that extraction industries are incompatible with other businesses, is dispelled.

Central government believes that the resource sector has the potential to significantly improve regional economies. Local government should demonstrate their support as well.

* Encouraging growth

Australia has identified small business expansion as the key to boosting economic growth. To succeed small business needs better cash flow and better tools for innovation, so in the Budget the Treasurer announced an immediate tax deduction for individual items up to $20,000 – available for the next two years: “If you run a cafe it might be new kitchen equipment, or new tables and chairs. If you’re a tradie, it might be new tools or a computer … cars and vans, kitchens or machinery … anything under $20,000 is immediately 100% tax deductible from tonight”.

Is this the sort of government initiative that could give our regions – and our country – a real boost?


Should central government be doing more to promote regional growth?

Vote x 120

*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Central Government Policy has destroyed regional growth in around 7 terms of office. The Free Market is a myth and has created elitism (Commercial Apartheid). Free Trade agreements have destroyed the ability of the country to produce. Remember the modern economy only works with consumption and production! Free Market policy is obsolete and must be replaced with Fair Market philosophy if production is to be restored. A great example is the Australian international aviation industry that has been consistently dissolved by government policy. Currently the market has been transferred to foreign interests. Today almost 70% of the market is “owned” by foreign interests including foreign governments. Question is how long will take for the voter to wake up as 250,000 children living in poverty does not seem to be waking up the Government!!! Frederick
The Kauri forests with sustainable logging is a great idea, adding employment for the unemployed. Laurie
Absolutely. Don
Generates more income for them… Andy
Clearly if some areas of the country are not doing well it reduces the total output of our country. We cannot afford to let regions in New Zealand stultify. Let us seek out the causes of our lack of output in these areas, apart from a worldwide drop in the prices paid for dairy products. The restrictions of the RMA are probably only one of many causes. Robin
The Govt should be more proactive rather than reacative and has been sitting on its hand for far too long. What happened to the regional development initiatives that were promote by Labour about 12 years ago ? Mike
Yes, boosting the regions is crucial for national prosperity so enabling them to maximise their potential contribution should be a priority. Roger
Actually it is yes AND no! It is the gummints job to provide, where necessary, the appropriate conditions for entrepreneurs and businessmen, including farmers, to “do their thing” – which is to create wealth. By and large this is a negative duty – to keep their bloody noses out of it and not allow stupid legislation – like the RMA – to unnecessarily hinder growth. If irrigation is advantageous, it is up to the farmers to unite and provide it – or an entrepreneur to provide and sell it to the farmers. Given that gummints are likely to provide white elephants which they think may be needed, they are better out of it. Aunty Podes
Government and quasi government organisations should STOP centralising activities on Auckland, thus helping Ak and the regions. Ray
Small rural towns are in real trouble, but small business people in cities too are still trying to climb back into the black after the Global downturn of 2009. It’s no use going on about Aucklanders and people in other cities, as if they are in some way to blame for the country’s problems, a huge number of them are struggling too. Central Government needs to get behind small business all over the county. Lorraine
I am ‘sick to death’ of all the ‘crap’ the news media pump out about how Auckland is ‘suffering’. Time Government looked at developing the Regions, as maybe if Auckland had less residents because they have moved to the regions for better lifestyle, work, and income balance, MAYBE Auckland would stop grizzling so much. Hey you ‘jafa’s’ the world DOES NOT end at Bombay hills or the other side of ‘the Bridge’. MervB
To do nothing is a tragic loss. John
Must be selective, helping the most needy regions, not all of them. People in Regions wanting its support need to show real initiative in that direction, and (for example) in Northland move positively to make its large areas of potentially productive land, currently waste land producing the wealth the area complains it wants. Bill
There is far too much emphasis on the big city areas & Auckland is the worst case in the country. It is up to government to assist & help the rural areas before it is too late & people leave the land. Brian
The lead must come from central govt. The frame work must be put in place to enable the regions to succeed. Ronmac
The $50m allocated to some obscure project would be better sent to promote and subsidize new industrial development outside of main areas. See the way that Israel creates new industry in regional areas. Leon
But they will only because Winston is sticking it to them. I have already came to the conclusio that we are governed by outright pack of clowns, touchy feely and scared of losing their Govt paychecks. Sam
Most certainly – the rgions taxes contribute to the growth of super cities at the xpense of their own ares. John
Yes, especially in the Far North, ie areas outside of the Bay of Islands. James
The 50M that went to the racist and wasteful Whanau Ora from the Budget should have gone to setting up irrigation schemes in this region; in fact all monies from W.O. {which should be shut down now} needs to be diverted to regional developments. Monica
The RMA and district plans have proven to be the largest handicap to growth for N.Z. . Michael
What central government needs to do is to create an environment where people are free to go about their legitimate business without being hamstrung by busybody organisations such as Occupational Health and Safety, Regional Council, District Council, Department of Conservation and central government. We need to reduce government to half it’s size, get rid of half of the departments and get rid of all the quango’s who are always screaming for funding. Bureaucracy is what is preventing growth in the provinces. Dianna
The real growth we want from the regions outside of the main centres is EXPORT GROWTH, and this is being systematically destroyed by those (with the Greens leading the charge) whose interests, seem to lie in converting this country back to its original state (shrewdly observing that they are not materially affected by the obvious downturn that will occur). Unless our exports show a steady increase to counteract imported inflation, and the real bogey of INTERNAL INFLATION properly addressed—-which the new budget in the desire to alleviate poverty will certainly help to increase inflation; the end result will parallel, in time, the position Greece is now in!! As stated by the many replies; fundamentally New Zealand only major export receipts come from our land, our climate, and our agricultural producers. All they get are sickening abuse, unnecessary penalising regulations, and rules conjured up by an ever increasing cancer of bureaucracy both from central and local government. A look at the material public difference of perception between the agricultural sector in Australia and New Zealand reveals an inborn hatred by our New Zealand socialistic brethren imbued, and politically indoctrinated in regarding the farmer as an oppressive capitalist. This was amplified by a letter asking why the Dairy Farmers did not hold over payout from the previous season to “tide them over this particular period of low prices”. One might well ask why the writer and those now on the “poverty” line do not also use this method to alleviate “Hard Times”?! The question we should all be asking is whether immigration is going to cause more internal consumption in the regions, but without employment opportunities this will only result in an agricultural export production drop, due to an increase in population numbers in the following decades. Along with that, come the OECD figures that the hourly work output per worker in N.Z is well below the average of other OECD countries. Bob Jones touched on this point some months ago, and the effect our vast bureaucratic regulations have had on costs. Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch under the MMP electoral system decide the outcome of elections; and more to the point, any political party must take visible note of this fact to remain in government. Consequently the status quo will remain; and to quote Abraham Lincoln “The regions will all be trying to suckle on the one hind teat” The future for the regions covered in Latin ” # a fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi”!!! # A precipice in front, wolves behind? Brian Brian
To boost regional economy is a step forward in the right direction for national economy. David
They need to do far more to encourage businesses and government depts to local in the provincial cities where there is great transport links just to take the heat off the Auckland market. Frank
NZ economy still depends on a thriving rural basis. Jim
The government is presently doing as much as fiscal responsibility allows. The Regions are now paying the price of having, along with many urban areas, of twice voting for irresponsible socialism just as the economy y was recovering from the previous bouts of irresponsibility, Kirk to a small degree, but largely Lange and Clark. Bob
Not until the Christchurch redevelopment is well underway. David
Government, should stop all this pussy footing around with the RMA & let Local Councils do what they want to do to help the ecominic growth of there region the Central government should keep there nose’s out of it. Geoff
More regional growth is good as long as there are jobs. Robert
And what did we get – a budget concerned with Auckland? Peter
To slow down city growth. David
If you want my vote start now. Ray
Or the regions will spiral downwards: fewer people/families> fewer schools and > shops> fewer people. Rochelle
That is what government is supposed to do’ To create an environment for the good and best for its people’. Theodorus
New Zealand is becoming too top heavy. Too many resources concentrated in Auckland to the detriment of the rest of the country. Graeme
Absolutely yes! I’ve just moved here and the cities are similar to others anywhere – but the countryside is AMAZING. So unique we could make so much more of it.. Celia
Of course this is where the government gets it’s money from. So it’s about time they gave some back. Raymond
Why Oh Why did governments allow so many businesses to move to Auckland and cripple the provinces? Tony
Some years ago this was considered important – why was it ever forgotten? It does not make sense for everyone to live in Auckland! Jack
Concentration of population in major citiesis – IMO – detrimental to the countryas a whole. It distorts the perceptions of the populace & increases the disjointedness between town & country. Isabel
Regions are falling behind. Alan
Offer tax incentives to businesses to move out of the major centres, in particular Auckland. John
The regions have a far greater prospect for producing wealth than Auckland in particular for many reasons : [1] Untapped resources. [2] The larger the city, the further one has to travel to be employed,e,g living in South Auckland no longer ensures work there. [3] Lifestyle & accomodation costs are far more realistic in the regions, example; an excellent quality home can be purchased for $250000 within 15 minutes of a well paid job in New Plymouth. Nothing will even start to improve in this country until [1] Apartheid is scrapped. e.g. no more handouts to descendants of one race. [2] Those who refuse to work, should be refused a benefit. [3] The looney-tune Greens should be ignored when resources are moth-balled because of the lies that have been told regarding the vital gas carbon dioxide.. Allan
I can never understand why Govt does not set up native tree seedling nurseries within the holiday-camp prisons and give the seedlings to the unemployed to plant and care for on public land. Rik
Thrashed out infrastructure, over loaded amenities, over crowded roads and skyrocketting housing costs are not a good outcome for any city. Why are the existing residents paying for the growth we neither want or need? Paul
It is blindingly obvious. Richard
Instead they seem preoccupied with silly things like changing the flag. Ron
The govt could ease the Auckland housing problem by moving most of their public servants out of Auckland and into smaller areas where growth is needed, this couldn’t happen overnight but instead of taking people out of places like Napier and moving them into the big city would be a great start. Stevo
Government is a wealth consumer not a wealth producer. Get the government out of the way of business and you will see growth take off! Government is the problem, not the answer. Robert
We are a small sawmill in rural mid-Canterbury employing 18 staff. We are very health & safety conscious and this is reflected in our excellent low accident rate. With the new Health and Safety regime being put in place, I estimate we will be put out of business within 3 years as the level of compliance is so great and so costly (both in financial and production terms) that we will become a non-viable enterprise. That’s 18 jobs, a 3 million turnover and all the associated things that keep a business like ours going in the rural sector. Across the five main costs of building 2005-2015, concrete, steel, plastic piping and electric cabling have all gone up in cost to the consumer by approximately 60% but timber prices have only increased by 2-5% in spite of added compliance costs. I am all in favour of a safer workplace, but compliance costs purely for the sake of it does not support business in any way shape or form. Pieces of paper do not make people safer. We could mitigate some of the safety factors by rebuilding our old sawmill to be safer, more efficient and therefore more productive, but we would never get a council consent because the sawmill infrastructure sits too close to the road. To completely rebuild further from the road, we will need $10 million dollars and that is not a viable capital investment because in the next five years, Canterbury will run out of domestic grade saw logs. There’s not much the council or local government can do about that except plant forestry resource (which will be 30 years too late for us anyway) but it would be helpful if there was a can-do attitude to small business rather than punitive regimes. AJ
i.e Govt have cut rural roading budgets here in the south, so guess whom is paying more rates. Wayne
The government should get out of the way. Nick
Yes undoubtedly there are many opportunities with irrigation and new industries, but there is only a set amount of expenditure available from taxation. Each government department and NGO expects more money along with the growing gimme gimme from Maori groups so perhaps it is time for all to search carefully and prioritize what really are the important benefits for all Kiwis which will bring prosperity to all. Probably a faint hope. Chris.
It is also the anti mining and oil exploration etc by the greenies stifling employment and exports. Note the advantages enjoyed by Taranaki. Vince
Give some help to the regions !! let the mugs live in Auckland,sit in the traffic jams and pay for ever for a house to live in. No to mention having to put up with Len Brown. John
Places like Gisborne and the East Coast need support to continue to survive. Mike
A no brainer. Greg
Yes, to To diversify dependence on traditional primary product extraction exports, especially diarying – which long term is non-sustainably economically and environmentalll Tony
Encourage businesses to go elsewhere instead of Auckland. It would make a big difference to the traffic problem. We had themin the past but previous Governments changed that. Mary
In as much as we hate to think of or use the term subsidy, the only way that industry is going to be encouraged away from Auckland in to ensure that they are not disadvantaged by being further from the port or main distribution centres. Most regional townships are facing economic downturns and loss of population which sees them being left with debt for maintaining infrastructure such as roaring, water supply, sewage and other public amenities. The huge costs both financial and social being faced by the greater Auckland area both to local government and central government would far outweigh the cost of subsidising industry to the regions. Colin
Economic growth only comes from businesses (in all forms) making profits. central and local government cannot, ever, create or promote economic growth – not that that fact has stopped them for delusional attempts. They can, of course, impede economic growth and removing such impediments will help. Peter
With well documented pressure on the Auckland infrastructure and with ongoing significant capital expenditure looming in the future,it certainly makes sense for both Central and Local Government to encourage the relocation of appropriate business’s to the Regions. Geoff
Growth in the regions may drive more people to live outside the main centers such as Auckland and Christchurch. Chris
Yes, where there is lots of opportunity for those who want to WORK.! Stuart
I believe it is up to the regions themselves to do this. Once Government is involved it becomes a government/national program covering the whole country and is no longer regional based. If regional councils got off their backsides and did some real constructive work instead of piddling around with insignificant useless projects and cowtowing to local “Maori” the country would be a better place. Rog
Any beaurocratic group, when communication is so simple, should decentralise. eg IRD, environment Waikato, etc. David
The West Coast of the South Island is in dire need of support now, before mining and cement production ceases. The Karamea to Golden Bay road would be a tremendous boost to New Zealand’s tourist income by opening this new round trip route. BARRY
Govt support of the regions would allow people to stay in the area, have employment and give a positive boost rather than heading off to and in many cases a life foreign, debilitating and depressing for them. Elizabeth
The regions are the engine room of the economy. Can you drive a car without petrol? Willy
N.Z govt is more interested in changing the flag at $26 million when the money would be more usefully in othe arias. Edward
Instead of bleeding off the cream from the regions, the Govt should be encouraging regional growth, first by reversing the flow of funds from -> to the regions. Ron
Auckland’s and other city dwellers should appreciate that a large part of the money used to pay for imports such as motor vehicles, TVs etc is generated in the regions. Alan
Without doubt!! Regions are where the wealth of NZ is generated – not AKL or Wgtn!! We have had the rough end of the pineapple for too long1 Time for rural NZ to stand up and be counted, including debunking the current “myth” of “dirty dairying” – I farm sheep and beef! Andrew
Absolutely YES! Albert
Without govt. money, many areas in rural NZ are flying backwards. at an alarming rate. The govt.’s attitude seems to be one of “we’ll take your tax dollars, but your on your own, oh, and by the way, everything’s user pays (unless your on the maori roll)”. John
It’s essential, to avoid a social divide of the sort they now have in the U.K. Graham
Love the ideas put forward by the Hurunui Mayor. Talking of regions, Lake Taupo is a grossly under-utilised tourism asset. There should be an urgent inquiry as to why our country’s largest fresh water lake is not an equivalent tourism and recreational hub on a par with Queenstown. Peter
Within the the ability of the jobs being spread out by whatever acceptable means YES. Surely a lot of people can see that is the only way they will be able to own a reasonable home. Lance
Immigrants should only be admitted if they are prepared to reside in Provincial Areas of NZ. Peter
Auckland is a parasite feeding off the rest of the country Rae
Yes, of course. The “decentralisation” policies of the 1970’s Kirk government worked very well until it was abandoned by the idiotic Muldoon. The Government could star by ceasing all Treaty payments and directing that cash to regional development. An intelligent policy would also take most of the pressure off the out-of-control Auckland housing market, and Auckland’s failing infrastructure. John
Yes but local govt has to be very proactive in the same area to, pormote its self with local ideas from local people. Jim
A prime example is to develop the area between Auckland and Hamilton (a road that is improving all the time) so small industry can take hold out of the big ciities. That will help to encourage people to live in these smaller rural towns and reduce housing pressure on Auckland. Andrew
I come from a farming background and too little is being done on many levels for the regions. MEL
Of course. Isn’t that we elect them to do ? Seve
Mr Dalley wrote: “It is unequivocal that the current regulatory rules base approach, forcefully demanded by some parties, to protect and enhance biodiversity and natural features, is counter productive. It is clear that areas protected with the goodwill and pride of landowners ensures more sustainable and higher quality protection. For a nation that claims to value the protection of these areas but is not prepared to invest anything into them is appalling. To demand, by punitive regulation, that landowners should bear the cost of protection, the loss of use and production, thereby turning these areas into a liability for them rather than an asset, is short sighted. In spite of all that, we have many outstanding examples of large areas of biodiversity on private land voluntarily protected, we have prominent families and individuals in this district leading by example, restoring and planting and encouraging others to value and protect what they have. Why insult this initiative by slapping them with punitive rules and regulation, and we call ourselves an intelligent and civilized nation, where is the respect.” OH! This man is serenading me with his words! YES! Finally a leader with balls who is standing up for his community and telling it how it is – and by god he did it so well! That was beautifully articulated Mr Dalley. I would be proud to live in a community with you as a Mayor. Trina
Yes, the government puts all of its focus on Auckland and Christchurch – it’s time they considered the rest of the country as well and encouraged some real performance. Gordon
National should follow Aussie’s lead and boost small businesses around the country – that would kick start the economy. Colin
These are good ideas – the government should take notice. Pete
The Civilian Army is a GREAT idea. It should be started now and all of the unemployed should sign up. Planting kauri forests is another great idea that would get communities working together. Wendy
The provinces have become poor cousins under this government. David