Government fails to invest in the South - Southland Express column

Originally published as a column in the Southland Express

It’s easy at times to feel that the South has been forgotten by this Government.

There are many examples, including massive cuts to our road funding last year with ratepayers funding the shortfall, we’ve lost local control of the Southern Institute of Technology and its substantial reserves, there are massive hospital waiting lists and we lack  a decent sized hospital.

Most recently, when farmers asked for help with drought the Government responded with a disappointing $100,000 in support. 

Contrast that with the frightening list of excessive spending that this Government has undertaken and it’s obvious that they’ve got their priorities wrong.

Wasteful spending includes $24 million on Kainga Ora's office renovations, $100 million on Te Huia train, $35 million on consultants for ‘Let's Get Wellington Moving,’ $1.8 billion annually on more public servants, $50 million for design work on the cancelled cycle bridge and almost $1 billion going into the Three Waters asset grab.

Imagine the good that $3 billion could have done not just in Southland, but right across the country, for cancer patients, to cut hospital waiting lists, to better support small business growth, for more teachers and nurses - not to mention the Southland farmers who are currently finding it tough.

I find it incredibly frustrating that our province contributes so much to this country’s economy and yet continually fails to receive recognition from this Government in return.

We are here. We pay our way. We have a voice and we need to be heard.