• Video: Winston Peters visits stop banks, says more resilience and forward planning needed

Video: Winston Peters visits stop banks, says more resilience and forward planning needed

The future for Hawke’s Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle must be about better preparation, better resilience, because the provinces are critical for the economy, says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Peters was interviewed by Hawke’s Bay App on a stop bank of the Tutaekuri, just outside Taradale as part of a campaign stop in Napier yesterday.

“We're here for a public meeting, but also to see the Provincial Growth Fund and what it's doing for stop banks and resilience and planning forward because we're going to need much more of this in the future.”

“We've been forewarned with Cyclone Gabrielle, but we knew that a long time ago, and in the future must be about better preparation, better resilience, because the provinces are critical for our economy.”

Peters says that since his party left the Labour-Coalition government in 2020, the Public Growth Fund (PGF) had been reduced by the current Labour government.

“Sadly, after we've gone in 2020, they cut the billion dollars a year by 80%. That's only 200 million a year, and that's not enough for the whole of the provinces from Invercargill to Kaitaia, from Southern and to Northern, including Hawke's Bay, East Coast and all those places.”

“One billion for this investment is just not right, but we're going to bring it back at a far greater level and make it consistent.”

“Because in the end, as COVID-19 proved, the provinces are critical to this country's survival. It's 82% of our export wealth and fundamentals are going to have to be understood by parliamentarians as what's essential, and these things are essential in the Hawke's Bay.”

Peters says that he can see in the future that Hawke’s Bay’s recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle will be “forgotten in Wellington”.

“Th reeal focus for Hawke's Bay with respect to Cyclone Gabrielle is, are you going to be forgotten now in Wellington? Because I can just see it happening. I can see if they don't pay attention, they don't make commitments and mean to fulfil them.”

“We’ll be here just like Christchurch was after the earthquake, still not rebuilt. Get my point? It needs to be a priority before they start throwing money around like an eight armed octopus on all their work projects, let's fix up the fundamentals here as well.”