From Penk’s Pen

In this column I’d like to focus on some positive news recently received for our electorate.

It’s all too easy to be consumed by bad news, particularly in what’s proven to be a prettylong, hard winter for many. As a local MP and therefore last resort for many facing problems, my electorate office and I hear stories of uncertainty and difficulty day-in-day-out. Currently there’s plenty of anxiety about supply lines for various goods, stubbornly high house prices and the threat of rising interest rates and inflation. I do think it’s important, however, to shine a light on the positive where we can find it. In my case, as opposition MP, it’s important to give credit where it’s due when the government makes a good call.

On that note, I was pleased to hear news of a decision recently made by the Transport

Minister that no further toll would be imposed on the stretch of new motorway in the vicinity of Puhoi heading north. This was being considered as part of a standard procedure and it was open to the government to make a call either way.

I had lobbied the government on this matter, emphasising that it would be unfair to have two tolls on the same route. There is already a toll in operation adjacent to Orewa. This argument about fairness ultimately prevailed in the mind of the Transport Minister, he confirmed to me when I took the opportunity to discuss this situation with him recently.Perhaps the biggest lesson to be taken from all this is that a community that rallies together to lobby government can sometimes achieve a win. I give credit to the “One Mahurangi“ transport forum attended regularly by various community groups, local government representatives and transport agencies, along with MPs (including me as co-chair, having inherited that role from Mark Mitchell MP).

It probably goes without saying that we still have many other infrastructure needs – transport and other – in our area and I’ll keep pushing the government hard on those too. For now, though, I want to take this chance to record that a win has been achieved on the motorway toll proposal. Well done all concerned!

Cheers, Chris Penk MP

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