Now it’s Kaeo’s turn . . .
It takes something special to get the average politician out of bed before daylight. And the first step in building a two-lane bridge on SH10 at Ka¯eo was definitely special enough.
Possibly the biggest congregation of MPs in Northland since the 2015 by-election assembled in the pre-dawn mist, four years after the then National-led government promised to replace 10 one-lane bridges in the electorate, including the one at Ka¯eo.
The blessing was attended by Regional Development Minister Shane Jones, fellow Cabinet Minister and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis, and six National MPs, led by Northland’s Matt King.
About 40 people gathered in the dark by the roadside as Ratana a¯potoro Archie Waihora More blessed the site, then adjourned to the nearby Ka¯eo Rugby Club for speeches and jibes about who should take credit for the new bridge, Mr Jones warning the NZTA officials not to make Ka¯eo’s flooding any worse, and not to mess with the pohutukawa next to the bridge.
The new structure, estimated to cost $16 million, is likely to be built slightly south of the existing one, with a roundabout at the eastern end.
Regional Development Minister Shane Jones (second right) speaking at the blessing of the Whangaroa Bridge site.