West Coast woes
Last week, the government announced West Coast was joining the programme.
The study hasn’t been done but the aim is to focus on areas of strength and new forms of investments. It won’t be said anywhere but Coasters think they can only get attention by complaining; no wonder more are leaving than arriving.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the report will highlight further opportunities for growth in agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says mining and dairy have been traditional industries, and while tourism continues to grow, it is seasonal.
“Diversification is going to be the key for the West Coast, and this study will help identify the opportunities for competitive new industries, and help remove the roadblocks that may prevent them from developing,” Mr Joyce says.
“It’s already clear that the region has the advantage of strong, dedicated leadership among its businesses, local council and local iwi.”
If this is the case, then the rest of the country isn’t hearing about it – except when there’s a tragic event.
As long as most of the region’s resources are controlled by the Department of Conservation, opportunities will remain limited,
The only hope, I would suggest, is to embark on some lateral thinking and establish the West Coast as a Special Economic Zone, as suggested by the New Zealand Initiative
This would get rid of the restrictions of the Resource Management Act to allow resource exploration.
One bright spot, ANZ says, is that houses are cheaper on the Coast than anywhere else. All it needs are people who can buy them and earn a living for themselves.
They might also consider easing up on the FDI restrictions that could discourage investors from taking up any of the identified investment opportunities.