Regional New Zealand has led our country out of the global financial crisis with almost every region showing strong growth, and most with a lower unemployment rate than Auckland.
Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson-Tasman, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland all experienced growth above the national average in the five years from 2008. The unemployment rate in the South Island is just 3.9 per cent.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen — it’s a pleasure to be here today.
Before I begin, I’d like to thank Andrea Cave, Chair of the Aggregate and Quarry Association, and Gordon Laing, President of the Institute of Quarrying, for the opportunity to speak with you as industry leaders in the quarrying sector.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Otumoetai Intermediate on taking out the Supreme Prize at the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards. It is a real testament to Principal Henk Popping and all the teachers and trustees who work hard and are dedicated to raising the achievement of our children.
There has been a lot of focus in the media and from Opposition parties recently on the level of inequality in New Zealand. For those of you who don’t watch Parliament TV, there were more questions in the House this week on this subject.
It was great to hear the news last week that the Port of Tauranga has come to an arrangement with Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms-led logistics company Kotahi and the container shipping line Maersk to facilitate the arrival of larger container ships. This will be a huge boost to the local economy.