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Study says NZ regions getting left behind by cities

Regional economic growth is quickly becoming an 'us and them', according to a new study from the Salvation Army.

However, the Government insists its on the right track.

The report, called Mixed Fortunes, singles out Northland and the East Coast as regions which are lagging behind, while other findings predict Aucklanders will be younger, wealthier, better skilled and more ethnically-diverse than the rest of the country.

Alan Johnson, Social Policy Analyst for The Salvation Army's Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, said it was "virtually a North Island/South Island thing".

"Outside of Taranaki, Auckland and Wellington, is not doing very well, and almost all of the South Island, with the exception of the West Coast and Southland is doing very well."

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the Government needed to share the love.

"The regions produce the bulk of the export dollars and yet the resources are increasingly, disproportionately going into Auckland and Christchurch," he said.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the report had identified some of the challenges faced by New Zealand but it was "too simplistic" to blame the problems on the current Government.

"Things like roading investment, broadband investment, tourism investment and encouraging other investments including those in the oil and gas industry - those are the sort of things that will grow Northland over time."

Maori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said the disparity was largely to do with employment opportunities.

"Sure there's other things that come out from that, such as housing, roading and so on, but education has to be the key."

The Salvation Army report warns were in danger of becoming two New Zealands, with Auckland at the top. Source: 1 NEWS


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