Tauranga City Council’s commission wants three key infrastructure priorities to be top of mind for candidates at the forthcoming parliamentary byelection.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley says the projects involved – Hewletts Road/Hull Road/Totara Street improvements, State Highway 29 grade separation and the Port of Tauranga extension – are all vital and need to be accelerated to get the city moving.
"Industry, business groups and the Western Bay of Plenty’s councils all agree that these projects are pivotal for the region, simply because they will have the biggest impact on our economy and residents over the next decade and beyond,” Anne says. “The election candidates will all have their own policies to put before the electorate, but we would like them to also think about short-to-medium-term actions which will help us address the city’s chronic housing shortage, improve our transport links into and through the city and get goods moving efficiently through the port.”
She says the SH29 improvements the council has been advocating with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency would enable a separation of the increasing inter-regional freight traffic to and from the port from the growing public transport, walking, cycling and private vehicle traffic connecting to Cameron Road.
“Our aim is to accelerate the decision-making and see the full package of works start by 2025, rather than being staged over multiple decades,” Anne explains. “This project has other crucial outcomes, including unlocking the potential for up to 15,000 additional homes and an additional 10,000 jobs in the Tauriko Business Estate, so it really is a top priority.
“Work is required on the Hewletts/Hull/Totara corridor to accommodate and speed-up traffic flows across the city and to the port. And we also need the port extension works to be fast-tracked so that New Zealand’s biggest port can work at maximum efficiency and critical exports and imports are expedited.”
Anne Tolley says some of the early commentary from byelection candidates has been “out of touch” with the real needs of the constituency. “This is an opportunity to discuss and promote actions which will have huge long-term benefits for Tauranga, so let’s keep our electoral conversations grounded and focused on real world solutions to real world issues.”