PM visits New Plymouth to assuage concerns over Taranaki’s future
Business, community and iwi leaders say the government needs to inject significant funds to boost the Taranaki region's economy. The call comes in response to government moves to phase out gas and oil exploration in NZ. The Prime Minister was in New Plymouth today in an effort to calm concerns over the future of the region's economy. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told iwi, civic and business leaders that she still wants Taranaki to be known as the 'energy province'.
“We've talked about really where the future takes us.
“We've given that certainty through the decision that's been made, it gives us now the next twenty years to work on those alternative fuel and energy sources, and Taranaki really has the expertise here to be really at the lead and the forefront of some of that development.”
Jamie Tuuta, board member of Venture Taranaki and iwi spokesperson is indicating that local iwi are ready to work with the government.
“E rua āku pōtae mō tēnei huihuinga, tētahi mō te taha ki a Venture Taranaki engari ko tētahi atu pōtae mō te taha ki ngā iwi o Taranaki, nō reira ko tētahi o āku mahi i te rangi nei ki te pānui atu ki te Pirimia i tō mātou hiahia - arā te hiahia o ngā iwi kia mahi ngatahi mātou me tēnei Kāwanatanga mō te oranga o Taranaki.”
“I'm wearing two hats for this meeting, one for Venture Taranaki but another one to represent iwi in Taranaki, so one of my jobs today is to tell the prime minister of our desires - that being the desire of the iwi for us to work together with the Government for the well-being of Taranaki.”
Tuuta also says he knows that this has been a subject that has divided the community - Māori and Pākehā alike.
“E rua ngā whakaaro mō tēnei o ngā kaupapa - ko rātou e mahi ana i roto i tēnei kātu mahi me rātou anō hoki rā e whakahē ana i ēnei mahi, engari ki a mātou me anga whakamua tātou o taranaki kia kite ake he aha rā te huarahi kei mua i te aroaro kia whai ora tēnei rohe.”
“There are two opinions about this undertaking, those who work in this industry who oppose what the government is doing, but there are those of us who want Taranaki to move forward to scope out a pathway forward so that this region continues to prosper.”
Local businesses asked the government for $42 million to boost the region's economy, but the Prime Minister says development money has already been allocated to the region
“They already know about the $20 million we've invested in Taranaki through the provincial growth fund, and that answers one of the calls which has been, let's make sure that we're investing in diverse parts of the economy - tourism for example.”
There's a new future on the horizon for the region of the snow-capped mountain.