Confirmation Southland recovery package blocked

The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed New Zealand First blocked Jacinda Ardern from announcing a $100 million recovery package for Southland.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman told the Otago Daily Times the Government was still working on what a package of support would look like.

"Yes. NZ First blocked support as they [media] have said."

"Our ambition is to ensure as long a transition as possible, economic support to develop and support new industries in the region, a focus on sustainable jobs."

The statement followed an RNZ report which said the Government would not be allocating any specific amount of money to the region before the election, because consensus would not be reached between Labour and New Zealand First.

Invercargill deputy mayor Toni Biddle met Ms Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods last week, following the announcement the Tiwai plant was closing.

Winston Peters. Photo: NZ Herald
NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo: NZ Herald

She said nothing was mentioned about the package at that meeting.


Southland mayor Gary Tong confirmed Ms Ardern did not mention a package.

It is understood the visit was originally to include the announcement of a "Just Transition" package, similar to what was unveiled in Taranaki after the Government banned future offshore oil and gas exploration.

RNZ understood there was back and forth between ministers about a roughly $100 million package for Southland, focused on job creation.

Mr Peters denied that.

"No, there was no discussion of a financial package for Southland last week, full stop,'' he told RNZ.

He did, however, reveal he told Ms Ardern she was travelling to Southland on behalf of the Labour Party, not the coalition government.

Mr Peters said he had "most certainly not" seen a paper about a financial package, nor had he been involved in a conversation about one.

- Additional reporting RNZ



Oh Winston, it is time for you to go away now and write a book or something. You have become so irrelevant and basically a waste of news space. After everything we have been through this year, I would personally like to see lots of positive things happening in our country and not an old man growling about everything and only showing his face around election time. Why don't you stop being a bully and let whoever is in government get on with it.


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