Economic growth and child poverty standout issues for web voters

EDITORIAL

There is a message for local and national politicians in the results of the latest Herald web poll, which suggested economic growth is the leading concern of Gisborne people.

The poll asked “What issue/sector would you like to see New Zealand’s politicians place a major new emphasis on in 2016”. Economic growth topped the poll with 23 percent, or 48 of the 207 respondents favouring this, ahead of child poverty on 21 percent.

Other issues in double figures were health (12 percent) and crime (10 percent), while climate change and family violence were both chosen by 9 percent of respondents.

The poll results seem to show a practical viewpoint, with people realising that paid, productive work goes a long way to addressing other issues. It also shows a desire for active political engagement in helping to create economic opportunities.

There is a widespread view in heartland New Zealand that the provinces are being ignored by central government in favour of the large centres, where the votes are.

Despite incentives like extra points for immigrants prepared to come to smaller centres, the Government has yet to take meaningful steps towards changing that perception. However, credit is due for its recent $125,000 grant to local economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti, to create and implement a regional economic development action plan.

Indeed it is apparent that much of the burden of turning around the district’s economic fortunes is going to fall on Activate Tairawhiti, in conjunction with the support of its two funders Eastland Community Trust and Gisborne District Council — and, of course, the business community and entrepreneurs of Gisborne and the East Coast.

This makes it even more important that the present impasse about merging the economic development agency with Tourism Eastland and Heart of Gisborne gets sorted out early this year. That is a job the council is taking on, after an effort by the organisations themselves failed.

There is a message for local and national politicians in the results of the latest Herald web poll, which suggested economic growth is the leading concern of Gisborne people.

The poll asked “What issue/sector would you like to see New Zealand’s politicians place a major new emphasis on in 2016”. Economic growth topped the poll with 23 percent, or 48 of the 207 respondents favouring this, ahead of child poverty on 21 percent.

Other issues in double figures were health (12 percent) and crime (10 percent), while climate change and family violence were both chosen by 9 percent of respondents.

The poll results seem to show a practical viewpoint, with people realising that paid, productive work goes a long way to addressing other issues. It also shows a desire for active political engagement in helping to create economic opportunities.

There is a widespread view in heartland New Zealand that the provinces are being ignored by central government in favour of the large centres, where the votes are.

Despite incentives like extra points for immigrants prepared to come to smaller centres, the Government has yet to take meaningful steps towards changing that perception. However, credit is due for its recent $125,000 grant to local economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti, to create and implement a regional economic development action plan.

Indeed it is apparent that much of the burden of turning around the district’s economic fortunes is going to fall on Activate Tairawhiti, in conjunction with the support of its two funders Eastland Community Trust and Gisborne District Council — and, of course, the business community and entrepreneurs of Gisborne and the East Coast.

This makes it even more important that the present impasse about merging the economic development agency with Tourism Eastland and Heart of Gisborne gets sorted out early this year. That is a job the council is taking on, after an effort by the organisations themselves failed.

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Bob Hughes - 3 years ago
I understand voters putting economic growth and our shameful child poverty record as first and second in your online poll, but I am astonished that climate change should attract only 19 votes from the 207 respondents.
Even more so that in our now cruel, cruel world, global humanitarian needs should draw only two votes.
Future focused as I am, my single vote went to climate change. If I had a second, global humanitarian needs would have won it hands down.
Apart from these two issue, the others had a local and New Zealand flavour.
Yet your online readers come from a worldwide mix, so the parochial label does not stick.
Disappointed as I am that so few share my viewpoints, it would be nice to know if others would have ticked the humanitarian aid box had they a second vote.
You say the poll results seem to show a practical viewpoint.
My view, as always, is that the future of the planet and the well being of all its inhabitants must come first.

Poll

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