Carter’s hypocrisy

The Northland Age - - Opinion - Kaitaia

It makes me smile when our Mayor John Carter fawns over the new Gov­ern­ment and its pour­ing of mil­lions of dol­lars into the Far North through its re­gional de­vel­op­ment fund.

So far the Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced $7 mil­lion for wharf up­grades in the Bay of Is­lands and Kerik­eri Air­port up­grade.

An­other $16.35m has been promised for a $9m up­grade of the high­way in­ter­sec­tion at Waipapa, $450,000 to­wards a two-year pi­lot scop­ing a to­tara wood in­dus­try, $2.3m for a tourism hub in Kawakawa and up to $4.6m for a cul­tural tourism ven­ture in Opononi.

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Shane Jones said North­land had ben­e­fited from the Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund, to­talling $3 bil­lion over three

years, be­cause it was “shovel ready” with much of the ground­work al­ready done when the fund was launched.

Mr Carter has been at ev­ery an­nounce­ment, smil­ing hap­pily with the Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and say­ing how won­der­ful it is that this much-needed money is com­ing to the Far North.

And he’s tak­ing some of the credit for lob­by­ing the Gov­ern­ment for the funds.

Surely though Mr Carter should be asked why he’s hap­pily smil­ing along now when the Gov­ern­ment he was a mem­ber of, in­clud­ing be­ing a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter, de­lib­er­ately ig­nored North­land and al­lowed it to get into the state it is in now with mas­sive un­der­fund­ing, and ne­glect.

Many of the Far North’s prob­lems — poverty, crime etc — can be linked to this lack of care from the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment over its nine year term.

Mr Carter was part of that Gov­ern­ment for a large part of it, but sat and did noth­ing to get more fund­ing for this area from his col­leagues.

One could ar­gue that he just clipped the ticket to col­lect his fat salary, and then got a nice plum job in the Cook Is­lands from his Na­tional mates.

Thank­fully we now have a Gov­ern­ment that recog­nises that the re­gions have been neglected and that they need to be im­proved for the ben­e­fit of the whole coun­try.

It would be nice if Mr Carter had the courage to call out the pre­vi­ous Na­tional Gov­ern­ment for its ne­glect rather than just blithely smil­ing along at the next photo op­por­tu­nity when more money is an­nounced for our re­gion.

That would be real lead­er­ship, but Coun­cil­lor Hook­way (Age, March 22) asks what role we had in se­cur­ing the PGF fund­ing re­cently an­nounced by Shane Jones. We’re de­lighted to ac­knowl­edge once again, as we have many times over the past month, that we iden­ti­fied the op­por­tu­nity of­fered by the Growth Fund, took the ini­tia­tive and sub­mit­ted the ap­pli­ca­tions that se­cured this vi­tal fund­ing for the Far North.

With­out Far North Hold­ings our com­mu­ni­ties would have missed out on a huge cap­i­tal in­jec­tion that is go­ing to­wards up­grad­ing age­ing in­fra­struc­ture

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