A Word from the Mayor on Infrastructure
We heard last week that our central government is increasing its spending on infrastructure. This is welcome news to local government who provide forty percent of New Zealand’s public infrastructure.
However, with this news comes a bit of disappointment. There is a feeling that South Island projects have been largely ignored and that the allocated spending fails to recognise the contributions and needs of the rural sector.
While the news itself is good, the government’s infrastructure spending priorities appear to focus on moving people and ignore the economic importance of agriculture. Our productive rural sector is reliant on road transport that allows goods to be moved from farm to market – the proposed infrastructure spend fails to recognise and value this from an economic perspective.
There are a number of potential infrastructure projects throughout the south that, if funded, would significantly improve network efficiency. A few examples from North Canterbury alone are the replacement of the one lane bridge over the Hurunui River on State Highway One, upgrading the narrow and dangerous Ashley River Bridge on State Highway One and the construction of the proposed Woodend Bypass on State Highway One, all key factors in enabling product to market
This week’s spending announcement highlights the urgent need for Central Government to work in partnership with Local Government to ensure effective, efficient and productive infrastructure planning and development.
“He Waka eke noa – we are all in this boat together”