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New Government announced

As you will be aware, this week the lineup of new Ministers was announced, including Shane Jones as the Minister for Regional Development, with Rotorua-based Fletcher Tabuteau as his under-secretary.

This follows a busy week of policy announcements in the week since the new Government was announced, and subsequently, details of the policy deals between both Labour and New Zealand First, and Labour and the Greens.

Following the Ministerial announcements, we can now make a start on working with the new Ministers and relevant MPs, bringing them up to speed on the role of the Bay of Connections, the work we are doing, and how that may now fit with some of the policy announcements.

Early indications are that regional economic growth is set to be a key focus of the new Government, with policy announcements including the $1 billion per year Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund.

There is also set to be a strong focus on forestry, with the reintroduction of the New Zealand Forestry Service, and a goal to plant 100 million trees per year in a Billion Trees Planting Programme.

As Bay of Connections prepares to celebrate its 10th birthday, we will now look at the new opportunities the policies present, how they fit with our Action Plan and how we can capitalise these for the benefit of the Bay of Connections.

We will keep you all informed on opportunities that come up. In the meantime, here are some key points of the deals from a Bay of Connections perspective.

• A $1 billion per year Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund

• Significant investment in regional rail

• New Zealand Forestry Service, and the planting of 40 million trees extra per year in a Billion Trees Planting Programme

• A funding increase to Biosecurity NZ and a select committee Inquiry into biosecurity

• Increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2020, with the final increase to take effect in April 2021

• Increase R&D spending to 2 per cent of GDP over 10 years

• Move to an emissions-free government-vehicle fleet by 2025/26, introduce a Zero Carbon Act and independent Climate Commission, which will consider including agriculture into the ETS, establish a tyre stewardship fund, piloting alternatives to 1080, work towards a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

• Honour existing Government support for irrigation but wind it down

• Levy on exports of bottled water

• A 100 million green fund to stimulate up to $1b worth of investment in low-carbon industries

• Ensure work visas reflect skills shortages and cut down on low quality international education courses. Take action on migrant exploitation, particularly international students

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

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