17 May 2015

Mayor: More immigrants not enough

7:59 am on 17 May 2015

Encouraging new immigrants to settle in the regions could be a step in the right direction, a Waikato mayor says.

no caption

Small towns in New Zealand need investment not just people, Otorohanga District Mayor Max Baxter says. Photo: 123RF

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said yesterday he was considering changing the immigration scheme to give extra points to those willing to settle outside Auckland.

Michael Woodhouse

Michael Woodhouse Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

He said the changes could be in place in the next few months.

The Otorohanga District suffered a major blow this week with the announcement that more than 130 jobs were to be cut at Waikeria Prison.

The mayor, Max Baxter, said it was sad news for the area so any help to bring in jobs and investment was welcome.

But he said simply sending immigrants to his area would not sustain the local economy.

"There have to be incentives for business to come to the regions. As soon as you've got business in the regions, then you've got the opportunity for people to move out of the main centres," he said.

"So business incentive is probably key for me as opposed to just sending people to us."

He said it was crucial that businesses and investment remained the Government's focus to keeping the communities vibrant in rural and provincial areas.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs