Opposition says regional package ignores rail

Government package announced yesterday described as insufficient and lacking in vision.

Government package announced yesterday described as insufficient and lacking in vision.

File picture

LABOUR and the Green Party say Gisborne needs regional development but both describe the Government’s package, announced yesterday, as insufficient and lacking in vision.

The two opposition parties have criticised the lack of commitment to restoring the Gisborne to Napier rail line.

Meka Whaitiri, Labour MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, said the policy was “a missed opportunity to address the real challenges facing the region”.

“Any government investment in Tairawhiti is to be welcomed. However, this plan seems to take a piecemeal approach to attempting redress of nine years of Government neglect,” she said.

“National has cut transport funding for the Gisborne region by 40 percent, or $22 million, since 2010, the biggest percentage cut in the country.

“I support any investment in this region but the challenges facing Gisborne need locally-driven, sustainable solutions and a Government genuinely invested in seeing better outcomes for the region.

“I would have liked to see a plan that truly backed Gisborne exporters and locals who are crying out for the restoration of a general rail-freight service.

“Labour’s plan to inject up to $20 million into the construction of a plant for prefabricated building materials takes a smart future-focused approach to boosting the economy.

“Labour has a positive vision. We will lead from the front on housing, end the state house sell-off and build thousands more state houses.

“We will invest in education, and introduce fees-free post-school education.”

Kiri Allan, Labour’s candidate for East Coast, said National’s commitment of $2 million into the forestry industry was “just not enough”.

“We know the region’s aspirations to invest in our primary sector by localising timber processing presents significant job and economic growth opportunities, and has the potential to play a core role in supplying materials to address New Zealand’s housing crisis.

“National’s investment and plan falls well short of supporting this vision,” Ms Allan said.

Gisborne was a core stakeholder in Labour’s KiwiBuild commitment to build 100,000 affordable homes around New Zealand in the next 10 years.

“Labour sees the potential for Gisborne to literally be building the solutions to New Zealand’s housing crisis by expanding our timber industry and growing our economy and employment.

“Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s announcement of National’s plan to increase youth employment in Tairawhiti is far too little and a lost opportunity to combine genuine industry growth and increased youth employment.

“We will subsidise local businesses to employ 4000 young people in fields including building and construction, which is necessary to support Labour’s KiwiBuild solutions.”

Labour’s policy of building a timber prefabrication and associated infrastructure, announced here last week, was “a cost-effective investment to fulfil Gisborne’s vision and economic growth”, Ms Allan said.

Green Party MP and East Coast candidate Gareth Hughes said the Government’s action plan lacked bold new ideas and contained “no serious central Government funding”.

“It’s a different minister but the same old glossy re-launch of existing, mostly local initiatives," he said.

“This action plan leads to a transport priority plan which is, essentially, yet another study. The $1.5 million extra for transport is welcome but is a drop in the bucket.

“I am disappointed that it ignores reinstating the rail line to Napier. ‘The Green Party is committed to reopening the line.

“I acknowledge the local businesses and council’s involvement in the paper, but after nine years of National in power, the region deserves more than yet another glossy plan and token funding from central Government.”

LABOUR and the Green Party say Gisborne needs regional development but both describe the Government’s package, announced yesterday, as insufficient and lacking in vision.

The two opposition parties have criticised the lack of commitment to restoring the Gisborne to Napier rail line.

Meka Whaitiri, Labour MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, said the policy was “a missed opportunity to address the real challenges facing the region”.

“Any government investment in Tairawhiti is to be welcomed. However, this plan seems to take a piecemeal approach to attempting redress of nine years of Government neglect,” she said.

“National has cut transport funding for the Gisborne region by 40 percent, or $22 million, since 2010, the biggest percentage cut in the country.

“I support any investment in this region but the challenges facing Gisborne need locally-driven, sustainable solutions and a Government genuinely invested in seeing better outcomes for the region.

“I would have liked to see a plan that truly backed Gisborne exporters and locals who are crying out for the restoration of a general rail-freight service.

“Labour’s plan to inject up to $20 million into the construction of a plant for prefabricated building materials takes a smart future-focused approach to boosting the economy.

“Labour has a positive vision. We will lead from the front on housing, end the state house sell-off and build thousands more state houses.

“We will invest in education, and introduce fees-free post-school education.”

Kiri Allan, Labour’s candidate for East Coast, said National’s commitment of $2 million into the forestry industry was “just not enough”.

“We know the region’s aspirations to invest in our primary sector by localising timber processing presents significant job and economic growth opportunities, and has the potential to play a core role in supplying materials to address New Zealand’s housing crisis.

“National’s investment and plan falls well short of supporting this vision,” Ms Allan said.

Gisborne was a core stakeholder in Labour’s KiwiBuild commitment to build 100,000 affordable homes around New Zealand in the next 10 years.

“Labour sees the potential for Gisborne to literally be building the solutions to New Zealand’s housing crisis by expanding our timber industry and growing our economy and employment.

“Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s announcement of National’s plan to increase youth employment in Tairawhiti is far too little and a lost opportunity to combine genuine industry growth and increased youth employment.

“We will subsidise local businesses to employ 4000 young people in fields including building and construction, which is necessary to support Labour’s KiwiBuild solutions.”

Labour’s policy of building a timber prefabrication and associated infrastructure, announced here last week, was “a cost-effective investment to fulfil Gisborne’s vision and economic growth”, Ms Allan said.

Green Party MP and East Coast candidate Gareth Hughes said the Government’s action plan lacked bold new ideas and contained “no serious central Government funding”.

“It’s a different minister but the same old glossy re-launch of existing, mostly local initiatives," he said.

“This action plan leads to a transport priority plan which is, essentially, yet another study. The $1.5 million extra for transport is welcome but is a drop in the bucket.

“I am disappointed that it ignores reinstating the rail line to Napier. ‘The Green Party is committed to reopening the line.

“I acknowledge the local businesses and council’s involvement in the paper, but after nine years of National in power, the region deserves more than yet another glossy plan and token funding from central Government.”

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