Rural communities at heart of all decisions

Minister for Rural Communities Damien O’Connor has made it easier for Government rule-makers to ensure rural communities are at the heart of their decisions.

The Rural Proofing Policy was launched at the opening of the Health Hub at the 50th Fieldays at Mystery Creek today.

“Those living in rural communities can enjoy excellent lifestyles but they face unique challenges that must be reflected in Government policy,” Damien O’Connor said.

“This year alone has seen drought, floods and cyclones. We’ve also seen biosecurity incursions such as Mycoplasma bovis cause huge stress across our rural communities.

The Rural Proofing Policy will ensure that when policy-makers sit down to design the rules they take into account the unique factors that affect rural communities such as low populations, isolation, and reliance on the primary sector for employment.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries will have an important role in supporting agencies to build their own rural knowledge and capabilities through practical resources, training and getting analysts out to talk to rural communities and businesses.

“Three especially relevant areas are: connection infrastructure, access to services, and the ease and cost of doing business and compliance.

“The policy and associated guide were developed with the advice and support of rural communities, and I thank all the community groups who have contributed.

“All of us, no matter where we live, should have the ability to live, work and fully contribute to and be part of New Zealand society.

 “The bottom line is that rural Kiwis should have equitable access to social and economic opportunities, to reach their full potential,” Damien O’Connor said.