While politicians invariably obsess about “the next election” pretty much constantly (it’s never more than 3 years away!), most normal people don’t think like that. This is totally understandable, and indeed healthy, with so many real-life concerns to preoccupy the mind.
That said, readers will have noticed election signs recently adorning the northwest landscape, so there’s no escaping the fact that in mid-October there will be an election.
My hope is that major issues for this area are debated thoroughly. Clearly the focus needs include de-congesting the roads, adding capacity to our local schools and improving internet connectivity for those living in rural blackspots just up the road from Auckland CBD.
In summary, infrastructure is sorely needed in northwest Auckland to catch up to the demands of all the additional housing here. It’s fair to note that these problems date back many years, across successive governments, so a partisan conversation about where fault lies has limited value. Much more important for the people of this area is that politicians and would-be politicians set out what the future should look like.
In my mind it’s clear: first, we need to avoid any further ad hoc development. We need to plan so that decisions aren’t made at the level of a single development site that detract from the liveability of the area as a whole. And a key aspect is to avoid any more flood-prone areas as locations for housing.
Second, we need to get underway building the Kumeu bypass (or “alternative state highway”, as it’s officially known) and improving other key arterial roads. These have been talked about for years but we’re way past the point where talk is enough.
With that in place, works to widen and improve SH16 will be able to occur with a pressure valve released. Truth be told, these works are themselves long overdue so we urgently need as much progress as possible to ease the blockages at key points along the main drag.
It should be clear to local and central government planners at that point what exciting additions can then be made to the area. An additional high school would be right up there, for example.
Let’s talk about these things ahead of the election. And then let’s do them.