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The Gauntlet: Issue #49



Newsletter #49 - 24 August 2017


We are now less than a month from a general election and possibly the completion of the Kowhai Park upgrade. Rodney Times questioned the candidates.


KOWHAI PARK

The works team upgrading Kowhai Park are doing a great job, working through a very wet winter. There has been no traffic disruption, no damage to the environment, and all the works has been done for around half a million dollars. It looks like the black top is ready to be laid. The opening could be within a month.


What would an opening look like? For the ribbon cutting, would dignitaries need to park on Elizabeth Street? If so, how would pedestrians get to Kowhai Park from Elizabeth Street?


What we do know is what many motorists queued at the intersection will be thinking.


PLEDGES


Candidates Mark Mitchell, Marj Lubeck, Tracey Martin (Photo courtesy of Rodney Times)


Incumbent Member of Parliament for Rodney, National’s Mark Mitchell, got candid to the Rodney Times here: http://bit.ly/2is3AFv. In relation to Hill Street, he gave these answers:


What do you see as the main issues affecting Rodney?

Rodney needs continued investment into our services and infrastructure to support our economic and residential growth.


Tell us what your party's policies will do for people in this community?

National is working hard to grow the economy, because it means we can raise family incomes, build new infrastructure and deliver outstanding public services in a way that is affordable.


In Rodney, this means we can keep building roads like the Hill Street upgrade and the Puhoi to Wellsford Roadway…


The Labour Party candidate for Rodney, Marja Lubeck, gave these answers: http://bit.ly/2w5nLfA. In relation to Hill Street, she made these comments:


What do you see as the main issues affecting Rodney?

For us in the Rodney electorate, the most pressing issues are housing affordability, health, transport, and education.


Tell us what your party's policies will do for people in this community?

Labour will invest in infrastructure and build 21st century transport networks.


New Zealand First list Member of Parliament and Rodney candidate, Tracey Martin, gave these answers: http://bit.ly/2v7t4xX. More specifically, she gave these answers in relation to Hill Street:


What do you see as the main issues affecting Rodney?

Public Transport, roading, youth access to post-secondary education, home ownership for young families, rapid population growth and economic development.


Tell us what your party's policies will do for people in this community?

Our commitment to fund immediate attention to the Hill Street intersection and Penlink will address bottlenecks for economic development.


Our "extraction to export levy" with 25 per cent being returned to the area from which the extraction was made will provide needed funds for local infrastructure.


Our commitment to a localised binding referendum will give the people of North Rodney the opportunity to voice their views about being part of "Auckland".


DIDN’T THEY DO WELL?

As the late Bruce Forsyth would ask, didn’t they do well? Well, weren’t not sure. It’s too early to tell. And here’s why.


Labour and National have been giving almost daily announcements. They have drip-fed many of the projects included in the leaked Auckland Transport Alignment Project update (http://bit.ly/2vsilLE). We know that the joint strategy wants to push forward Penlink and projects around Warkworth from the second decade to the first. We don’t know if and when they will announce pushing forward those projects.


The only two things that worry us is the timing of the Hill Street upgrade and Sandspit Link. In particular:


  1. We want the removal of the unnecessary restriction preventing the construction of the Hill Street upgrade until after the motorway and Matakana Link are completed in 2021. If an upgrade’s design avoids disruption, why the restriction? Why the delay? How will Sandspit Road traffic get to the motorway in the meantime?

  2. We want the Sandspit Link between the Matakana Link and Sandspit Road to be built sooner as Sandspit Road is already at capacity at the Hill Street intersection and traffic growth is forecasted to almost double before the motorway and Matakana link are completed.


We would appreciate if the Labour candidate could specifically mention specific Rodney transport issues, especially Hill Street and Penlink. Then, voters could figure out what the options are if Labour looks more likely to lead the next government.


Remember, Labour was against the Penlink Tollway when in power but built the Northern Gateway Tollway to Puhoi. When Lockwood Smith sponsored the Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill in 2001, it was voted down in its second reading by Labour in December 2003.


Under Labour, Penlink would have cost a fraction of what it would cost now and would have been built and paid for by now. On the other hand, the major Hill Street upgrade planned under Labour has been stalled repeatedly under the nine years that National has been in power.


Mark Mitchell and Tracey Martin are both locals who have been Members of Parliament since the 2011 election. They have both been working at multiple levels to apply pressure – Mark from a government level and Tracey from the opposition.


Mark has listened to our team and done well to convince the Minister to fund the investigation and design of a major upgrade. He tabled our petition. The remaining hurdle, however, is the unnecessary proviso that upgrade construction starts after the completion of the motorway and Matakana Link. By then, it would be too late and a Sandspit Link would also be required.


Without Tracey Martin’s questions in Parliament, we wouldn’t know that the NZTA revised their traffic growth projections, which showed how urgent the problems needed to be addressed. Her pledges to prioritise Penlink and Hill Street reflect that urgency.


As we said, it is too early to see the full picture of who will pledge what and who can deliver it. We’ll keep applying the pressure so that Warkworth remains relevant in the campaign.


THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing and thank you to donors and volunteers who have got our campaign into full swing. Please contact us if you would like to donate, volunteer, or have any suggestions.


To make a donation, our bank account details are:


Account Name: “FixHillStreetNow Action Group” Bank Account Number: 12-3095-0042062-00.



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This website is authorised by Glyn Williams, 2 Heritage Lane, Warkworth.