Tauranga City Council’s commission wants three key infrastructure priorities to be top of mind for candidates at the forthcoming parliamentary by-election.
Commission chair Anne Tolley says the projects involved – Hewletts Road/Hull Road/Totara Street improvements, State Highway 29 grade separation and the Port of Tauranga extension – are all vital and need to be accelerated to get the city moving.
“Industry, business groups and the Western Bay of Plenty’s councils all agree that these projects are pivotal for the region, simply because they will have the biggest impact on our economy and residents over the next decade and beyond.
“The election candidates will all have their own policies to put before the electorate, but we would like them to also think about short-to-medium-term actions which will help us address the city’s chronic housing shortage, improve our transport links into and through the city and get goods moving efficiently through the port.”
Tolley says the SH29 improvements the council has been advocating with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will enable a separation of the increasing inter-regional freight traffic to and from the port from the growing public transport, walking, cycling and private vehicle traffic connecting to Cameron Road.
“Our aim is to accelerate the decision-making and see the full package of works start by 2025, rather than being staged over multiple decades.
“This project has other crucial outcomes, including unlocking the potential for up to 15,000 additional homes and an additional 10,000 jobs in the Tauriko Business Estate, so it really is a top priority.
“Work is required on the Hewletts/Hull/Totara corridor to accommodate and speed-up traffic flows across the city and to the port. And we also need the port extension works to be fast-tracked so that New Zealand’s biggest port can work at maximum efficiency and critical exports and imports are expedited.”
Commission chair Anne Tolley. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.
Tolley says some of the early commentary from by-election candidates has been “out of touch” with the real needs of the constituency.
“This is an opportunity to discuss and promote actions which will have huge long-term benefits for Tauranga, so let’s keep our electoral conversations grounded and focused on real world solutions to real world issues.”
The candidates running in this year’s by-election were confirmed on Tuesday.
They are: Allan Cawood for ONE Party, Christopher Coker for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, the New Nation’s Andrew Hollis, Labour’s Jan Tinetti, National’s Sam Uffindell, ACT’s Cameron Luxton, New Conservative’s Helen Houghton, and NZ Outdoors & Freedom Party’s Sue Grey.
Yvette Lamare, Peter Wakeman, Tony Corbett and Gordon Dickson are standing as independent candidates in the by-election.
"Now that nominations have closed, we can start to print voting papers for the by-election," says Graeme Astle, National Manager of Voting Services.
Advance voting in the Tauranga electorate will start on Saturday June 4.
"There will be 17 advance voting places in locations that are easy to access, where people will be able to enrol and vote," says Graeme. "The times that advance voting places are open vary, so check before you go to vote."
On election day, Saturday June 18, 20 voting places will be open from 9am to 7pm.
Voters enrolled in the Tauranga electorate who are currently overseas, or who will be overseas on election day, can also vote.
From June 1, voters who are overseas will be able to download voting papers from vote.nz and be able to return them by upload to the website.
More information on overseas voting can be found at vote.nz