22 Jul 2014

Labour promises $200m regions fund

4:21 pm on 22 July 2014

The Labour Party says it would set up a $200 million fund to invest in the regions to help boost economic growth and jobs, if elected to Government.

The party says many regions have been hollowed out under the National Government with young people leaving for the cities and overseas.

David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Announcing the policy on Tuesday, leader David Cunliffe said a Labour government would co-develop regional growth plans for every region.

He said the party would invest at least $200 million in a fund to create jobs and sustainable growth.

"We are looking for things that will achieve a step change in the ability of a region in its strongest sectors, acknowledging that every region has different resource endowments and we grow the value of the whole economy when we do what we do well even better."

Prime Minister John Key said there was some logic behind the idea but more was needed than a $200 million "slush fund".

"You need to actually make the regions to be productive and to have the capacity to grow, and that requires the big serious things we're doing - roading reform, ultra fast broadband reform - making sure that our regions work effectively."

Labour says the regions would also be a part of a wider economic upgrade to boost investment, innovation and industry.