Don’t forget about growing the regions
Former government minister Louise Upston hopes the new Labour-led coalition won’t dump plans to extend the Waikato Expressway south of Cambridge.
There was a perception plans for the upgrade, from Cambridge to Piarere, and long-term plans to extend the expressway to Tauranga, were under threat.
Upston said she hoped the new government pays attention to the Waikato as it’s a growing region.
That included continuing with roading infrastructure projects.
‘‘We have to ensure the opportunities which come with growth don’t become a headache for us.
‘‘If there is one question I have been asked, it’s will they continue with the plans for the Cambridge to Piarere extension of Waikato Expressway?
‘‘And now it’s a question I am unable to answer, it’s a bit of an unknown at this stage.’’
Prior to the coalition decision, Upston was the Corrections Minister and was disappointed not to be able to carry on.
‘‘One of the opportunities you have as a minister is being able to work with some incredible groups of public servants.
‘‘I have appreciated the opportunity of a lifetime to have been able to work as a minister in cabinet and the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of New Zealanders.’’
Upston said it was ‘‘too early’’ to talk about whether she would support a change of leadership for the National Party.
‘‘I’m hoping he [Bill English] doesn’t make any rash decisions as he has been a huge part of New Zealands success.’’
She now finds herself in unfamiliar territory on the opposition bench and has vowed to continue to work just as hard for the electorate.
‘‘As the MP for Taupo I want to assure you that I will continue to work hard and advocate strongly on your behalf.
Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Chief executive Tania Witheford was pleased a coalition agreement had been made, ending the post-election uncertainty.
‘‘The sooner we understand details of vital policies, ministerial positions and final government arrangements the better, as it will give the confidence and certainty our members require.’’
She said there was a need for a strong focus on regional development and did not want to see any ‘knee-jerk’’ changes from the new Government..
Taupo MP Louise Upston.