The Green Party candidate in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election, Marama Davidson, has launched a jobs package for the electorate that will deliver thousands of sustainable jobs.
"If elected I will make jobs for whānau in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate my number one priority. The package I have announced today is a realistic and achievable blue print for sustainable jobs on the East Coast," said Ms Davidson.
"The National Government's only plan for jobs is in risky and polluting oil drilling and more intensive farming. However their own best estimates show mining will create only a couple of hundred jobs in the region and farming has real environmental and economic limits.
"More than 900 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2008 in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti. Māori need a real plan for jobs that delivers in numbers and doesn't damage Papatūānuku along the way.
"My plan focuses on maximising the strengths of the region in forestry and land based activities, while also delivering key Green Party projects to the electorate such as nurses in schools and home insulation.
"This is the best jobs package on offer to voters of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti. It gives voters a real choice about who they want fighting for them in Parliament after Saturday. We seem to be the only party that has taken the issue seriously by providing the foundations for a practical plan addressing the number one challenge for the electorate.
"Only the Green Party has the commitment to building a new sustainable economy that delivers sustainable jobs to our people. We need a fresh start on jobs."
Key components of the jobs plan are:
A true price on carbon for forestry jobs. By giving investment certainty to the forestry industry through a fair price on carbon, we can incentivise reforestation on Māori land. No cost, up to 3,000 direct jobs.
Biofuel from wood waste. New Zealand produced biofuels from wood waste is an untapped economic opportunity especially in regions like Ikaroa-Rāwhiti with a significant forestry industry.
Environmental Restoration. Set up a paid conservation corps to plant alongside our degraded streams and rivers, controlling wilding pines, and trapping pests throughout our conservation estate. This will particularly help upskill young people: Cost $39.6m, 300 direct jobs, 860 total jobs.
Regional Transport Investment. We will reinstate the Gisborne rail line, prioritise regional road maintenance over gold-plated metropolitan motorways, and support safer walking and cycling options. There are 40% more jobs (per $1m spent) in the smart green alternatives to new motorways.
Eco-Cultural Tourism. By protecting the '100% Pure' brand, supporting a brand mark system for Maori tourism products, and simplifying red tape for Maori and hapū start-ups, we can promote the tourism industry in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.
"There are enormous opportunities in forestry on the coast. We can reforest Maori land by setting a fair price on carbon, creating thousands of jobs," said Ms Davidson.
"We also need to value add in the forestry sector. Far too many logs leave our ports unprocessed. Bio-fuels are just one example of how we can get more bang for buck from forestry and create jobs along the way.
Domestic processing of timber, energy efficiency and micro-generation projects, manuka products and organic fertilisers are other priorities the government can support.
"Cleaning up our waterways and maintaining our local roads are jobs that need to be done but have been neglected. We would invest in getting clean up and maintenance projects going with a focus on getting our young people into these roles.
"I am one hundred percent committed to delivering this plan. It offers voters a real choice for new beginnings - Matariki is a great time to launch this. This is a blueprint for sustainable change to position Ikaroa-Rāwhiti as the region to lead the country and potentially the rest of the world."
For more information:
Greens Jobs for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti - https://home.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/green_jobs_for_ikaroa-rawhiti.pdf