Vision vital to boost economy
Early this month, further job losses were experienced in the small town of Huntly.
Approximately eight subcontracted jobs from the Huntly Power Station and 35 positions from a local health provider were disestablished.
This will add to the local job loss toll resulting from cuts at the Huntly East mine.
The stresses will be felt in many ways, but I believe Huntly and much of the North Waikato district needs elected local body representatives who have a vision for the region.
We cannot rely on big projects and should think about how we attract small businesses to the region and contribute to a tourism experience.
We need a different set of solutions to promote local business and regional growth.
The Labour Party hosted the Future of Work Conference earlier this year and we believe that creating jobs that build the local economy and respond to the challenges ahead will be central to the next Labour Government.
Better central, local government, iwi and small business partnering for local services such as housing and infrastructure is worth considering.
In our district it doesn’t make sense turning rich fertile soils in Pukekohe for food production into more housing for Auckland.
There is real opportunity for other parts of our district to be utilised for housing along the main rail trunk line.
Local leadership and vision will be required to make that happen.
Huntly in particular should have some signature business ventures that attract people to our town.
One top pick in my book is a tuna or eel aquaculture farm business.
The protein is a staple for Asian diets and the product has export potential.
Importantly Huntly or Rahui Pokeka as it was formerly known - was known for its abundant eel production in pre-European times.
I grew up in Huntly, in my early years people relied on the heavy industry Labour market for work to feed their whanau.
Sadly that is no longer the case and we need to look for other alternatives.
We have the Waikato River, we have potential space for smart development, we have a successful iwi and we need active councillors who represent the future not the past of our district
Together with vision our region has the capacity to do better.
Nanaia Mahuta is the MPfor MPHauraki-Waikato, spokesperson Conservatio, Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, Whanau Ora
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