Bennett calls for infrastructure funding
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett admits she is not shy to use her ranking in Parliament to get more infrastructure funding for her Upper Harbour electorate.
The need for more infrastructure is the biggest issue facing Upper Harbour, Bennett says in a North Shore Times Facebook Live interview.
‘‘I just go transport, transport and more transport please,’’ she says.
‘‘That’s everything from public transport, through to our motorways and highways, on and off ramps and ferry service; you name it, it’s really important to constituents and the people of Upper Harbour,’’ Bennett says.
‘‘I always say in Wellington, it’s personal, because you’re actually keeping parents away from having dinner with their children every night ... It’s more than just the vehicle or the road, it’s actually how people live their lives.’’
Just providing public transport is not the answer, as that is not practical for everyone who has multiple journeys to make, Bennett says.
‘‘[Drivers] they want to go to the supermarket or pick up their kids from childcare,’’ she says.
As deputy prime minister, Bennett says she is not shy to influence the National caucus to provide more funding for Upper Harbour’s infrastructure.
‘‘I’m one voice in a team, but it’s a pretty loud and strident and stroppy one.
‘‘I’m deputy prime minister for all of New Zealand but, yeah, I do get to influence it [the funding], of course I do.’’
Bennett says she hoped Upper Harbour residents are ‘‘a little bit proud’’ of the fact their MP is deputy prime minister and the second ranked member of Parliament.
Upper Harbour is one of the country’s newest electorates and was created in 2014 due to population growth in Auckland.
Bennett admits people often got confused about the boundaries. The Upper Harbour electorate includes Massey, Hobsonville, Greenhithe, and Unsworth Heights to Glenfield.
‘‘It’s a long, skinny [electorate] with really distinct communities and not communities that have a lot in common,’’ she says.
To connect with constituents, Bennett holds ‘‘random morning teas’’ inviting people randomly out of the electoral roll to have a chat.
She encourages local people to vote in the elections, no matter what party they vote for.