Politicians push roading projects
Building Penlink and fixing Warkworth’s notorious Hill Street intersection are two roading projects Rodney residents are keen to see action on during the next term of Government. The Rodney Times asked local candidates about both these issues during a panel discussion.
Rodney candidates are taking a strong line on the area’s infamous roading projects in the lead up to next month’s election.
Warkworth’s Hill St intersection and Whangaparaoa Peninsula’s Penlink were hot topics chosen by readers at the Rodney Times panel discussion.
While policies differed among parties, one thing each candidate agreed on is the urgency needed for fixing the area’s bottlenecks.
National’s Mark Mitchell believes he can deliver Penlink within the next term, if re-elected.
‘‘I’m as close as I’ve ever been to being able to deliver it in the three year plan,’’ Mitchell said
‘‘The consenting is done, the project is ready to go - we just have to get it built.’’
An instrumental campaigner in the push to get the project moved forward, Mitchell believes it’s a matter of public safety.
‘‘If we had a major civil defence event or if we had a tsunami, one way on and one way off [the Peninsula] is not acceptable,’’ he said.
Labour candidate Marja Lubeck says Penlink is ‘‘absolutely crucial to the development of the Hibiscus Coast’’.
‘‘Labour is supporting funding to get people of Rodney moving,’’ she said.
The first six months of a Labour government would see ‘‘a review of projects competing for priority, to see which ones make the most difference’’, Lubeck said.
New Zealand First has already come out publicly in support of prioritising Penlink, candidate Tracey Martin said.
She believes the cost benefit ratio ‘‘far exceeds’’ many other projects in Auckland, and it should be delivered as a four lane bridge to future proof the route.
Hayley Holt, the Green Party’s Helensville candidate who joined the panel on behalf of the party, says she could support Penlink as a short term solution, but it’s not the answer.
‘‘Whilst it will help people get to the motorway easier, it will move the bottleneck further down, so at the very same time we need to also prioritise building rail,’’ she said.
Martin says Penlink should be built to support a future rail link, but thinks transport plans should extend further north.
‘‘When people talk about transport, Rodney goes further than Orewa,’’ she said. Mitchell said.
With need for infrastructure investment at an all time high, however, he says it needs to be planned carefully.
‘‘When the work is done, and when we’ve identified the design, the decision to start work on Hill St [and] do the redesign should sit with the community and the people using it.’’
Martin said reports already show the intersection is ‘‘a handbrake’’ on Warkworth’s economic development.
‘‘Domestic tourism coming out of Auckland will not come because of the Hill Street intersection,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s a priority now. We believe the locals have the solution, and NZTA needs to stump up with the cash that was promised.’’
Labour and the Greens agree a fix is top priority, with Holt calling Hill St ’’a mess’’ which is ‘‘quite fun if you’re into adrenalin’’ and Lubeck calling a fix for the intersection a ‘‘no-brainer’’.
ACT party representative Beth Houlbrooke was unable to attend, but sent her apologies.
Candidates Tracey Martin, Mark Mitchell, Hayley Holt and Marja Lubeck talk with Stuff reporter Jay Boreham.