By Scott Simpson, National Party MP for Coromandel
The closure of SH25A Kopu-Hikuai for the next 9-12 months is longer than any of us wanted, but most of us have been bracing for this news. It’s still a complex situation. At least we have a timeframe to work with. Roading networks in our region remain fragile. As we enter autumn and head into winter it’s likely our roads will be under further stress. I’ll continue to keep pressure on the Transport Agency and the government to get SH25A re-opened as quickly as possible, and that other important links are strengthened to provide more certainty for all road users.
The extended closure means we are going to have to get used to a new way of living and moving around the Peninsula. Local businesses need our support now more than ever. The Coromandel remains open so encouraging people to visit us again, drive SH25 and enjoy the scenic route helps. There are many beautiful parts of the Peninsula and now’s a good time to slow down a bit and experience them.
In news from Wellington, National has also outlined our plan to repeal and replace the Government’s Three Waters reforms. We’ve listened to people’s concerns about losing control of local assets. Our policy takes a more democratic and collaborative approach to the future delivery, maintenance, and investment of water services.
Change is needed to ensure New Zealanders have access to quality water, but the solution is not four co-governed mega entities which aren’t answerable to the public.
‘Local Water, Done Well’ restores local control and makes councils accountable for the investment and maintenance of water assets. There is a transition period, but council’s need to have a plan for the future of water infrastructure which is financially sustainable. Their progress and compliance will be monitored by a new, independent Water Infrastructure Regulator within the Commerce Commission.
There is the option for like-minded councils to come together and pool resources, but that is up to them and their communities. Under a National Government, ‘Local Water, Done Well’ ensures that water stays in local hands.