Regional New Zealand has been hammered by the hands of this Ardern-Peters government, most recently by the announcement of a ban on any new offshore exploration.
The announcement was kept secret until just before the Prime Minister's trip to Europe to allow her to tell international media about it. And so continues the coalition government's raid on the back pockets and futures of hard working New Zealanders.
In just six months, the Ardern-Peters government has axed National's tax package, which would have seen the average worker more than $1000 a year better off, announced an 11.5 cents per litre fuel tax in Auckland, proposed an additional nationwide fuel tax of up to 13.8 cents a litre and gutted $5 billion from regional roading projects.
They've axed funding for regional irrigation projects, which would have helped farmers and growers deal with severe weather, providing certainty, jobs and export growth. And they've announced large-scale industrial relations reform, which will see fewer jobs created and fewer opportunities for people looking to enter the workforce.
These are just some examples, but they add up to a real, negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of hard-working New Zealanders and on our national prosperity. They will mean lower incomes, fewer jobs and a higher cost of living.
The petrol tax alone will mean motorists are paying up to an extra $15 every time they fill up. It will also mean we are all paying more for things like groceries as freight operators are forced to pass their costs on. Regions like ours are being put on the backburner. For a government that campaigned on helping regional development, we have already been short-changed, and we’re only six months in. The government has turned its back on the Northland region, and it seems to be all about Auckland. People here are giving me their reactions to what is happening, and I want you to keep giving me this feedback as it is an essential component of the job I do for the region.
Rather than stand in their way, this government needs to get in behind New Zealanders, and National will be working to ensure they do.