Like the rest of Auckland, the west and northwest are suffering from a disconnect between population and infrastructure. It’s a long-standing problem and not due to any single factor, tempting as it may be for some to point the finger at particular current or past players.
Our resident numbers have grown steadily over time due to internal and external net migration, which is no bad thing in itself. The problem, however, is that our infrastructure has not kept pace. That’s sadly true whether we’re talking public or private transport, the cramming of teachers and kids into crowded classrooms or even something as vital to human existence as water.
In my first term as a local MP I’ve made it a priority to lobby central and local government decision makers to get something better than what we have. Truth be told, it’s been a frustrating and often fruitless exercise. I’ve also been lobbying “my side” of the political aisle. I simply want what’s best for this area when it comes to networks that allow our families to live, work and play safely. Party politics don’t come into the equation when I’m asking that the west and northwest get our fair share, in other words.
Can I strongly but respectfully recommend one thing ahead of this year’s election: all voters must assess the parties’ and candidates’ respective plans when it comes to key infrastructure such as roads, rail and schools. And I’d also urge that everyone consider just realistic such plans might be, lest we have any more “light rail” or Kiwibuild false starts.
I’ve been delighted to announce recently that my team’s infrastructure plan for the west and northwest includes an express busway and passenger rail to Kumeu/Huapai on the existing line. We also remain committed to completing projects already in the pipeline, such as four-laning key stretches of SH16 and getting roundabouts at both ends of Coatesville-Riverhead Highway. I’m most excited about using the train line again, though! All aboard!
Chris Penk MP