Investing in our area’s infrastructure
Infrastructure supports much of our daily lives – it’s the roads we drive on, the schools our children learn in and it delivers our electricity and water. It is a key driver of the economy, and public services. And investing in it creates jobs and offers training opportunities.
Since being elected in 2008 the National-led Government has committed billions of dollars for infrastructure. Investment in modern infrastructure is a priority and Government capital spending over the next five years is forecast to total $32 billion with major investments in transport, schools, hospitals, defence, and housing.
It is easy for people in provincial areas to think that all of this is taking place in the cities, but a lot is coming our way. Our region is a hive of economic activity and the Government recognises that it is important to keep our regions competitive and able to grow, through infrastructure investment such as ultra-fast broadband (UFB) and transport improvements.
In the faster broadband space it’s fantastic to see more Kiwis getting the benefit of ultra-fast broadband. The Government invested in fibre to increase uptake and the level of demand so far has been strong, with New Zealand boasting the second highest growth rate for fibre subscriptions in the OECD.
Twenty-one towns are now fully fibred. This means more than a million New Zealand households and businesses are able to access download speeds of up to 1000 Megabits per second.
New Zealand now boasts second highest growth rate for fibre subscriptions in the OECD.
The Government announced in late January it was investing $300 million to expand the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) and we will see another 423,000 New Zealanders able to access fibre by the end of 2024.
For our regions, this means the Taupo fringe and airport and Turangi and Putaruru will gain access to UFB.
High quality internet makes a difference to the way we run our local businesses, with access to the digital economy and greater commercial opportunities. In schools, students and teachers can benefit from online learning resources and explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning. It also brings convenience and efficiency to our everyday lives.
Another major infrastructure investment in our region is the Waikato Expressway. Although not yet complete, the expressway is already paying dividends for our region. Through faster travel and an easier drive from the main centres, there are more tourists and out-of-towners spending time and money here. Freight is also moving faster to, from and through our towns.
To me though, joining the ‘golden triangle’ of Auckland, Tauranga and Taupo remains critical.
For the regions, it will allow logging trucks from Taupo and Te Kuiti better, faster and cheaper access over the Kaimai Range to the Port of Tauranga. We want to make sure that route from the central plateau forests, given that we are expecting increase over the next decade, to Tauranga port is good.
The short term work is part of the government’s Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme targeting 90 high-risk sites on rural state highways nationally.
Our investment in infrastructure continues to build a strong platform for growth.
A more competitive and productive economy is the only way we will create jobs, boost incomes, and provide the high-quality public services you and your family expect.
Taupo MP Louise Upston.