PM and co outline Northland strategy in Whangarei
Training for young Maori and jobs for the region was the focus of the Prime Minister's visit when he landed in Whangarei to reiterate National's 10-point plan to boost the region's economy.
Addressing the "engine room" of the economy at Toll Stadium yesterday, he said government set the framework but the private sector's investment created jobs.
He said protesters should be shouting for jobs.
Outside, Labour candidate Kelly Ellis and a dozen Internet Mana supporters were hoarse.
But jobs were not the solution to all Northland's ills.
"Work is not the whole answer but it is part of it," Mr Key said.
He was in town with ministers Chris Finlayson (Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) and Steven Joyce (Economic Development Spokesperson) supporting candidates Dr Shane Reti (Whangarei) and MP Mike Sabin.
Social issues needed attention, a point which brought Mr Finlayson to the stage after a speaker from the floor asked about "care of the underclass".
He said he worked on the Te Hiku Social Accord and was keen to work with iwi to address social issues. The party would also boost the primary sector through the Primary Industries Initiative and the Maori Agribusiness Programme and the reform Te Ture Whenua Maori Act to create jobs through freeing up Maori land.
Minister Finlayson said he had been working with Ngapuhi for nearly six years.
"The time for division is over. It's time to knuckle down," he said, announcing the Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Maori Affairs policies.
National would continue to lift training with the Maori and Pasifika Trades Training Initiative, said Mr Joyce on the Maori Economic Development Policy.
"Further expansion of the programme will give more young Maori opportunities for careers in industries with emerging skills shortages, like agriculture and the trades."
Earlier, they toured the refinery at Marsden, hearing of the $365 million expansion and resulting 300 jobs. National encouraged minerals exploration and oil and gas exploration across Northland. "It won't hurt to look."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was also worth a look, making it easier for boat builders to trade with the United States. The party would create the National Park in the Waipoua Forest, finish the Northland Regional Growth Study and the $8.56 million Primary Growth Partnership. Whangarei's connection to ultra fast broadband (UFB) could allow businesses to plug in to internet trade opportunities and help feed an Asian market hungry for New Zealand products.
Mr Joyce said National would address the mobile coverage black spots across Northland and roll out more UFB and had also earmarked $33.5 million for two roading projects - realignment of the Akerama curves north of Hukerenui and a new passing lane, and safety improvements to Loop Rd/Smeaton's Hill. Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee was "revving up the bulldozers" to complete the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance in 2016/17, Mr Joyce said, as the Environmental Protection Agency announced resource consents for the project had been approved.