In­vest­ing in our area’s in­fra­struc­ture

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LOUISE UPSTON

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.

SUPPLIED

Taupo MP Louise Upston.

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