Hon Shane Jones - One Year in Government

 

 

This Government is committed to transforming New Zealand’s regional economy, and rebuilding the presence of central Government on the ground in our provinces after nine long years of National Party neglect.

In our first year as Government, I’ve had the privilege of rolling out a host of initiatives to do just that: creating economic opportunities, restoring the capacity of the forestry industry, and helping improve road, air, sea and rail links to ensure all our communities are well connected with the rest of the country, and the world.

We’re able to do all this because of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund (PGF). Already the PGF has invested in many worthy projects across the country; from art and cultural centres and wharves, to airports and driver licensing schemes. It’s a key New Zealand First win from our Coalition Agreement with Labour and it’s making a difference in regional communities up and down the country.

On the forestry front, the establishment of the One Billion Trees programme will help create sustainable jobs and address climate change. To oversee this programme, we’ve established Te Uru Rākau, our new Rotorua-based forestry service. Recently $240 million was allocated for grants and partnership programmes to get trees in the ground - we’ve also established a new forestry scholarship and allocated $300,000 through the PGF to pilot a forestry training course as a solution to the growing forestry skills shortage.

In transport, we’ve invested record amounts in regional transport in our first year, doubling the funding for regional roads to connect communities and improve safety, and taking the first steps to reinvigorate regional rail. We’ve diverted funding away from the previous Government’s extravagant Roads of National Significance and into transport investments that will return more benefit for the taxpayer dollar.

Our first year in Government has seen great strides taken towards breathing life back into the regional economy. As always, I encourage those in the regions to continue coming forward with worthy projects for PGF support – it’s only with the help of all Kiwis that we will be able to realise our vision for a prosperous, successful provincial New Zealand.

 

 

 

 

Shane.Jones@parliament.govt.nz

 

 

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