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