By Scott Simpson, National Party MP for Coromandel.
News that SH25A won’t be opening in early 2024 is a devastating blow to our region.
For months we’ve been told that reopening by Christmas was out of the question, but not to worry because the Government and NZTA were working as fast as possible to get it fixed. Well, it’s been five and half months and NZTA have only now assigned a contractor and is in the process of setting up site offices.
We’ve been completely misled throughout this whole process, and we are no closing to knowing when we will be able to travel SH25A again. Confirmation from the transport minister that it will take 12 to 14 months to construct the bridge over the dropout is a kick in the guts to every business on the Coromandel and every individual anticipating anything resembling a normal summer. That’s not to mention the continued pain that locals have to deal with on a daily basis as they navigate the other routes around the Peninsula.
Some people will use stronger words than misled to describe the shift away from early 2024, but it’s clear the Government doesn’t understand that every day matters to the people of the Coromandel. Our region is bleeding. We have businesses closing, people losing their jobs, and despite numerous ministerial visits to the area, there has been no movement from the Government to provide a more urgent solution.
The secrecy around the reopening date is only adding to the frustration and anger felt by people across the Peninsula. It’s unacceptable and we need a straight answer as to when we can expect to travel SH25A again. I'm still pushing for SH25A to be open before Christmas. It's important for our whole region and our local businesses that we don't have four consecutive bad summers.
The highway’s continued closure is a frustrating example of the Government’s inability to deliver crucial infrastructure across New Zealand. In the last six years, the Labour Government has failed to start and finish any major infrastructure projects. It’s communities like the Coromandel that are now feeling the effects of years of wasteful spending with nothing to show for it.
There isn’t an easy solution to getting on top of the country’s infrastructure deficit, but we need to make it easier to get projects funded and consented. National announced our Infrastructure for the Future policy which establishes a National Infrastructure Agency and provides the framework to deliver long-term projects. We will make use of innovative funding tools to boost investment and we will partner with local government to create pipelines for regional projects.
Caption: SH25A - Broken Road.