Welcome to our 50th issue of The Gauntlet. There’s nothing to celebrate yet but we’ve come a long way. We started with distraction, then procrastination, then stone-walling, and now we’re getting pledges of action.
This week has been busy with politicians promising this, that, and the other thing. Next week, we will find out whether there is any credibility to their pledges when Auckland Transport will front the Warkworth Area Liaison Group meeting on Wednesday to discuss short term fixes to the Hill Street intersection.
So that's one in Dome Valley, one in Wellsford, and one in Kaiwaka? Is that what will be funding the Warkworth to Te Hana Motorway? Did they think that the traffic is too congested in Warkworth to catch anyone speeding?
LYING OR INTERFERING?
The Opportunities Party released this video, discussing how road planning should remain free from political interference: http://bit.ly/2gsVg7Z.
Basically, the TOP candidate suggests that any politician promising roading projects is either lying or interfering with an apparently independent process. We are wondering, due to the degree of political interference that has held up the upgrade of Hill Street and building of Penlink, has the horse bolted?
What would our road planning regime look like if we purely relied on engineers and planners? How can transparency be retained? How much community consultation would be taken into account?
Outspoken Waiheke Local Board member Jo Holmes wrote this interesting insight into that goes on behind the scenes at Auckland Transport, which demonstrates what can happen without “political interference”: http://bit.ly/2mqWyhv
Candidates Mark Mitchell, Marj Lubeck, Tracey Martin (Photo courtesy of Rodney Times)
If you haven’t watched it yet, Rodney Times ran their live meeting with candidates. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/2gmXhic. They followed up by running this story about candidates’ positions on Hill Street and Penlink: http://bit.ly/2iKU4gU
There were two very interesting statements from National’s Mark Mitchell:
National's Mark Mitchell believes he can deliver Penlink within the next term, if re-elected.
"I'm as close as I've ever been to being able to deliver it in the three year plan," Mitchell said
"The consenting is done, the project is ready to go - we just have to get it built."
… A Hill Street intersection fix could be delivered within 18 months under a National government, Mitchell said.
With need for infrastructure investment at an all time high, however, he says it needs to be planned carefully.
"When the work is done, and when we've identified the design, the decision to start work on Hill St [and] do the redesign should sit with the community and the people using it."
So, Hill Street can be fixed in 18 months and Penlink built in 36 months? That was news to us!
That’s a big call from Mark Mitchell. He will be under a lot of pressure to deliver on those timeframes.
The pressure will come from potential coalition or support party, NZ First, whose candidate, Tracey Martin said:
“It's a priority now. We believe the locals have the solution, and NZTA needs to stump up with the cash that was promised.”
That’s encouraging, because if Labour and the Greens need NZ First to form the next government, Labour thinks that fixing Hill Street is a “no-brainer.”
So, all the candidates see the urgency now. Our job, however, is not over until the ribbon-cutting.
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.