Ben­nett calls for in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing

North Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - DENISE PIPER

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.

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