Long wait for UFB roll out
McWilliam claimed former Prime Minister John Key promised Morrinsville some urgency on the matter in 2014. Former communications minister Amy Adams disputes the claim.
Morrinsville and Te Aroha were included in the Government’s Rural UFB2 roll out for 2020, Matamata was 2019.
Chamber members met with Minister for Small Business Jacqui Dean, who spoke about business assistance and initiatives on the Government’s website.
‘‘Jacqui Dean’s suggestions were met with laughter because the assistance she was advocating, the files are large and to download them you need to be connected to UFB,’’ McWilliam said.
He said the election was an opportunity to send a message to Government.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had a copy of the Chorus proposal, National candidate Tim van de Molen had spoken to his leader and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern had been in town.
‘‘The chamber has met with all the candidates standing for the Waikato seat, but none of them have any real influence.
‘‘If Jacinda Ardern wants to do something for her hometown, this is it.’’
The chamber looked to the Matamata-Piako District Council to assist in underwriting the Chorus proposal.
The council supported the business community’s push but remained cautious.
Mayor Jan Barnes said if her council was to front the estimated $1.4m cost, the process could take up to nine months.
It could be further delayed if subjected to a legal challenge.
‘‘If ratepayer funded, all the risk would be on council, and a requirement for businesses to agree to pay the voluntary rate for costs to be recovered,’’ she said.
‘‘At best, work could begin 12-18 months earlier than the proposed Chorus timetable.
‘‘We are better placed lobbying Government to speed up the installation in our towns.’’
Frustrated by slow internet speed is Morrinsville business owner Darrell Russell from the Piako Group.