New Zealand First leader Winston Peters opened a new office in Whangarei yesterday with a warning for the National Government and a vow to put a quarter of all royalties from Northland's mineral resources back into the region.
The NZ First Whangarei Parliamentary Office was opened on Bank St, the party's first office in the town since 2008, and Mr Peters chose the event to launch a new policy for the 2014 general election.
He said Northland had been abandoned by the National Party for decades, despite voters returning a raft of National MPs, and his party would target the Northland and Whangarei electorates in the election.
"The question is: what have those MPs returned to you except under-performance economically, socially, and political neglect?" he said.
"Northland needs a serious step change, up not further down. The problem with New Zealand today is that the regions have been forgotten. It shows in the Reserve Bank Act, written not for the wealth creators but speculators and financial wide boys.
"Our dollar is going through the roof, very soon to record levels, all of which will further damage productive provincial New Zealand."
Mr Peters said it was hard to believe that Northland - the most beautiful part of the country - was blighted by some of the worst statistics.
He said so much of provincial New Zealand's productive wealth ends up somewhere else, some to our larger cities and far too much going to offshore interests.
"Today [yesterday] we are announcing details of a Royalties for Regions scheme, which would hugely benefit areas such as Northland," Mr Peters said.
"Our new policy would see 25 per cent of royalties collected by the Government from a region's natural resources - in Northland's case that would come from such things as forestry, fishing and mineral exploration - returned specifically to the region."