Rotorua's mayor says a New Zealand First plan to shift government departments into regional centres isn't new, but is "spot on".

Steve Chadwick said the plan announced by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was a great idea, and something she had been saying for some time.

Mr Peters claimed the plan would bring new life into regional New Zealand and help to boost local economies. He said it would see service industries and shops flourish and help ease the overload in the cities.

Mrs Chadwick said when the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment opened an office in Tauranga, she started to think about the opportunities available for Rotorua.

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For example, she said with the forestry assets here, basing some of the forestry division of the Ministry of Primary Industries in Rotorua made sense.

Mrs Chadwick said Rotorua had all the advantages such as lifestyle and good air links.

"It is a very good idea."

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said it wasn't a silly idea.

"I don't think it is a dumb idea. If you put some of those in it will breathe some life in and it will, I guess, create jobs."

He said there would also be benefits in having decision-makers closer to Rotorua.
"We have the ability to cope [with the extra people]."

Mr Peters said the idea was a key part of New Zealand First's regional policy.

"The regions need jobs to boost their economies. Service industries and shops will flourish with more residents spending their money locally.

"Currently we have a country with the majority of jobs concentrated in overloaded cities.

There is no reason in this age of advanced technology that government office jobs cannot be in smaller cities and towns."