Jonathan Young MP for New Plymouth is hitting back at what he calls ridiculous accusations by the Leader of the Opposition that the Government is responsible for the current challenges facing some sectors in the Taranaki economy.
“We all know that the last 10 months have been tough in the global markets for both the dairy farming sector and the petroleum sector, but these industries have come off several years of considerable growth.
And we’ve known for several years that 2015 was going to be a tough year for engineering with no substantial shut-downs of petrochemical plants for their regular cycle of maintenance and refits.
“To blame this on the government is an embarrassing grasp for headlines,” Young says.
On the positive front, those on the job-seeker benefit have decreased overall in the first six months of this year. But what is concerning,” says Young, “despite that, there has been an increase by 190 in Maori unemployment over the twelve months to June 2015, the majority of these are young Maori men aged between 18 and 24.
Because of this, I was very pleased to speak at the launch of the Maori and Pasifika Trades Training programme at Owae marae in June this year. This is run by Taranaki Futures. This programme is essential to see those statistics turnaround and represents the type of investment by Government that will make a real difference in Taranaki.
Young also refutes the claim that Taranaki is receiving less investment in roading.
In the recently released National Land Transport programme for Taranaki, a part of Taranaki’s highway maintenance has been shifted to be the responsibility of the Whanganui/Manawatu region – so while it appears we get less, we also have to do less. If you were to include this ($33 million) and then add in the extra Crown funding for the Normanby Bridge bypass and the Mt Messenger/Awakino improvement; then funding has increased by 17 per cent, not decreased as Mr Little says.
With the total NZTA investment of almost $187million set to be spent on Taranaki roads and transport over the next 3 years, we can be assured this region is getting the attention it deserves” says Young.
It’s hard to believe Mr Little’s words when you drive through the Vickers to City development, a project that sat waiting to be done under Labour’s nine years of surpluses. During the toughest times, National initiated this project and it will be a dramatic improvement in journey time reliability and provide dedicated facilities for cyclists improving safety and route security.
Added to road investment, in 2013 a new joint Police station and remand centre in New Plymouth was opened at a cost of $17.25 million and the redeveloped Taranaki Base Hospital opened in 2014 after an $80 million investment. Additional to this is the contribution of $4 million to the Len Lye centre, which is already a huge success for the city and putting New Plymouth on the map both nationally and internationally.
Young says, “The Leader of the Opposition is so out of touch with what is happening in Taranaki, that he is unaware of the significant work being done through my office and other regional leaders on developing the tourism industry to strengthen our regional economy in Taranaki.”
“Taranaki is a region that continues to grow yearly in population. With the many great business people, local government and community leaders, this region will continue to stand tall alongside a Government that is putting the investment in where it is needed.