Northland, Gisborne, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and the Manawatu- Whanganui regions are identified as areas that have been severely neglected in The Salvation Army’s “Mixed Fortunes” report.
According to the report educational success is low, while youth unemployment, youth offending and benefit dependency are high in those regions.
On the contrary the report indicates that outcomes for children and youth in regions such as Otago, Canterbury and Wellington are consistently good, with high rates of participation in early childhood education and low rates of reported harm or neglect to children.
The research also outlines that, “as cities grow, distant and more peripheral towns and communities often remain stagnant or even fade away. This certainly appears to be the case across New Zealand with the increasing dominance of Auckland and the slow demise of most other regions, especially those in the North Island.”
Labour Leader, Andrew Little says, “Underpinning that is National’s underfunding of regional infrastructure and its focus on its highways of national significance, shifting labour-intensive jobs to Auckland, to the detriment of almost every other region.”
In order to combat the current issues facing the regions the report calls for a number of changes, including more government focus on investing and resourcing in those regions.
Little says, “Growing our regions requires smart thinking, a focus on diversification and investment in regional infrastructure. It is not about mixed fortunes, or the advantaged versus the disadvantaged. It’s about growth that flows into long-term prosperity for every New Zealander.”