A word from our local Member of Parliament.
It’s been over two months since State Highway 25A collapsed and left the New Zealand Transport Agency with a massive repair job. In the initial days and weeks after the road dropped out there seemed to be significant momentum to get on with the job and reconnect our communities. However, after meeting with council and government officials recently, it’s clear they’ve slipped into a malaise and just resigned themselves to the road being fixed when it’s fixed. There appears to be no urgency to push this repair job forward and get the Coromandel fully reopened by this Christmas. We keep hearing it will be fixed in 9-12 months, we also hear – ‘we are doing all we can’ and ‘there is no impediment in terms of money and resources’. However, we have no clear indication why this timeline is given and why it will take so long. Yes, we all know it’s a big job but at this rate the road will be closed well into 2024, which isn’t acceptable. A delay like that is not good enough for our communities, our residents, or our visitors. I don’t think we should simply accept NZTA’s timeframe without question. Council and government need to stop asking NZTA when they think SH25A will be fixed and instead ask them what they need from central and local government to get the highway open again before Christmas. The situation in our communities is dire. It’s heart-breaking to see businesses, families and residents fearful for their futures on the Peninsula. I was provided with a survey done by Pauanui residents showing how the closure is impacting them. Reading just a few of the several hundred responses gives a gut-wrenching snapshot of the hurt being inflicted and the impacts it’s having not just in Pauanui but all around the Coromandel Peninsula. Business people are dealing with financial and emotional devastation. Families are being split due to work and educational commitments on different sides of the Peninsula. Elderly and vulnerable residents are worried about getting to medical appointments. Overall, people are feeling isolated, despondent and increasingly angry. The transport minister tells us money isn’t a problem. Special legislation has been passed in Parliament to allow for fast-track consenting and decision making. So, the necessary elements for a much quicker fix than NZTA are currently forecasting are in place. Now it’s up to central and local government to support the Peninsula and get SH25A reopened as soon as possible.
“Council and government need to stop asking NZTA when they think SH25A will be fixed and instead ask them what they need from central and local government to get the highway open again before Christmas.” Authorised by Scott Simpson MP, 614 Pollen St, Thames
Caption: Scott Simpson, standing with the road crew, on a closed section of the Thames Coast Road just after Cyclone Gabrielle.