New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has again accused the Government of neglecting the regions as he goes for votes outside the cities.
At his regional campaign launch in Palmerston North yesterday he said wealth was being sucked out of the regions and there was no payback for the people who were creating it.
“They’ve allowed the situation to descend to the point where one economist has said some of our provincial centres are ‘zombie towns’,” he told a public meeting.
“We’ve got zombies all right but they’re not in our provinces they’re in the Beehive.”
About 500 people packed into Palmerston North’s Convention Centre yesterday to hear the New Zealand First leader launch his party’s regional election campaign.
Mr Peters outlined policies he said would ensure the regions benefit more from the wealth they generated.
He wants 25% of royalties and taxes collected by the Government from mining, petroleum and water to go back to the province from which the resource came.
“Now I notice you go down the West Coast no Maseratis there, virtually no BMWs there.
“I go to Thames, where all the extraction of gold happened, I don’t see any Maseratis there or any of the flash cars. No because they’ve just all been gouged out for central government’s advantage.”
Mr Peters also said it was time the “mindless” extraction of water by bottling companies was put to an end.
“We’re going to ensure that if any exports of water happens in the future then the first thing is they’ll pay a proper royalty and no less than 25% of that royalty will go back to the region from where that water came.”
He also wants the GST paid by tourists to be returned to the region in which they spent the money.
“Every cent they pay in a region can be quantified and sent back to that region and the information is all available now.”
Mr Peters said small businesses were “the engine room of the regions” and to help them prosper his party would introduce.
A wage subsidy for small business that take on job seekers and provide work experience.
“Real incentives” for small businesses to help disengaged youth become work ready.
Immediate tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000.
Immediate tax deductions for professional expenses when starting a business.
Streamlining business registration for those planning to start a business. NZN