Thursday, 15 February 2024 11:55

Fix our roads, MP demands!

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
It is time to stop politicising Northland’s roads, Parliament was told. It is time to stop politicising Northland’s roads, Parliament was told.

New Northland MP Grant McCallum says people in the region have had enough of road closures.

The National MP and Maungaturoto dairy farmer told Parliament last month that Northlanders have had enough.

“It is time to stop politicising Northland’s roads. It is time all the members of this house release the handbrake on Northlands prosperity and back the four-lane highway.

“It is a vital part of lifting families out of poverty by enabling businesses to invest, creating jobs and opportunities across a range of sectors and breathing new life into Northland.

“Northland will not prosper by increasing the size of the welfare cheque.”

McCallum noted Northland is a community of small communities – with towns like Kaitaia, Mangonui, Kawakawa, Dargaville, Maungaturoto and Mangawhai.

“The two towns I wish to focus on are Kerikeri and Kaikohe. They are 30 minutes apart, but in some cases worlds apart.

“They symbolise the challenges and opportunities in Northland. They need each other.

“This is not an either-or- story, it’s an and-and one. In 1953, Kaikohe was the hub of the North where Queen Elizabeth stayed during her tour of New Zealand. Kerikeri was a smaller village to the east.”

So, what changed? McCallum says it’s all about water.

In the 1970’s and 80’s, two dams were built to irrigate the fertile land around Kerikeri.

He says the results are obvious.

“Economic growth resulting in jobs in a town that now has a population of 8500 and is still growing. It has become a significant economic driver for Northland.

“I am pleased to see that in the Kaikohe area we now have one dam that has been built and another in Waimate North being built.

Grant McCallum 3 FBTW

New Northland MP Grant McCallum says people in the region have had enough of road closures.

“There is also the Ngawha Geothermal power station, the first carbon neutral plant in New Zealand, and the Ngawha innovation park.”

McCallum says if ever there is a region that has untapped potential – it is Northland.

“We are located next to the biggest city in the country, and we have a great coastline and beaches.

“We are blessed with quality soils that can grow a large range of crops.

“We have one of the highest percentages of young people under 15 in the country, yet we are struggling economically and socially and have done for a long time. The single biggest factor holding us back is connectivity, and particularly the quality of our roading infrastructure.”

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