A mes­sage for cor­po­rates

The Northland Age - - Opinion - Hon Shane Jones MP

On Thurs­day last week Kaikohe res­i­dents would have wo­ken to the un­for­tu­nate news that their lo­cal Ware­house store would be clos­ing.

This would have seen not only the loss of 33 jobs, a mas­sive blow in a town of only 4500 peo­ple, but also the loss of ac­cess to ev­ery­day con­sumer goods at af­ford­able prices for both Kaikohe and the sur­round­ing area, some­thing most Ki­wis would take for granted.

I took the view that it is un­rea­son­able for big busi­nesses, many of which prob­a­bly dis­placed smaller firms when mov­ing into towns like Kaikohe, to sim­ply up and leave when the go­ing gets tough. Through the goods they sell and the peo­ple they em­ploy, such busi­nesses are pil­lars of the com­mu­nity, whether their own­ers recog­nise it or not.

Thank­fully, be­fore lunchtime that day a spokesper­son for The Ware­house an­nounced that the land­lord had agreed to re-en­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions re­gard­ing the lease, and as such the store is likely to stay open.

I spoke to the land­lord, and he was not happy with how The Ware­house had con­ducted it­self dur­ing the lease ne­go­ti­a­tions.

He has, how­ever, taken on ad­di­tional risk to help save jobs in Kaikohe, which is com­mend­able.

I am not in­ter­ested in claim­ing credit for keep­ing Kaikohe’s Ware­house open. How­ever, I hope it is clear to the large cor­po­rates op­er­at­ing in re­gional New Zealand that this gov­ern­ment will no longer stand idly by if and when they de­cide to aban­don the prov­inces.

The clo­sure of es­sen­tial com­mu­nity re­sources such as bank branches and Post Shops, and ser­vices such as air links, hap­pened all too of­ten un­der the pre­vi­ous Na­tional-led ad­min­is­tra­tion, with not so much as a whis­per from any of its min­is­ters.

I hope that with the stances I have taken against The Ware­house and Air New Zealand in re­cent weeks it will be clear that this style of lais­sez-faire gov­er­nance can no longer be re­lied upon to em­anate from Welling­ton.

Re­al­is­ing this gov­ern­ment’s aim of re­ju­ve­nat­ing the prov­inces and stim­u­lat­ing sus­tain­able growth through­out New Zealand will take more than just pro­vid­ing fund­ing for wor­thy lo­cal projects through the Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund.

It will re­quire an ef­fort from all those with a stake in re­gional New Zealand, in­clud­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment, iwi, busi­nesses and in­vestors, to com­mit to en­sur­ing its long-term pros­per­ity, and be will­ing to ride out the bumps in the road that will come along from time to time.

"I hope that with the stances I have taken against The Ware­house and Air New Zealand in re­cent weeks it will be clear that this style of lais­sez-faire gov­er­nance can no longer be re­lied upon to em­anate from Welling­ton."

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