Winston Peters calls for transport spending to be matched in the provinces
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is playing Oprah with New Zealand Transport funding, sending a message to all Kiwis: You get a road, and you get a road...and you get a road too.
New Zealand First wants to start spending in the regions again, saying it's unfair for taxpayers from Gore to be paying for Auckland roading projects and getting nothing in return.
"Regional New Zealand is tired of being the Cinderella when it comes to broadband, mobile phone coverage, roads, rail and even access to banking services," he told a packed public meeting in Napier.
So he's promising to balance out the roading spend per capita.
"New Zealand First insists that for every dollar spent on major new transport projects in cities like Auckland, a comparative spend must be made on projects in provincial New Zealand."
It's the latest in a big drive from New Zealand First to rally voters in the provinces, who Mr Peters says are being forgotten.
"These big-city, free-spending politicians forget where the wealth of this country comes from," he said.
"New Zealand has a two-tier economy - Auckland, Christchurch and the rest. We want a one-tier economy where, from Invercargill to Kaitaia, the provinces again become central, core and critical to our recovery."
It's a tactic that paid off for Mr Peters in the Northland by-election, capitalising on those regional voters who feel like they're getting a raw deal.