I am keen to be Upper Hutt’s voice on the Regional Council. I want to use my experience as the former Minister of Transport to help improve road and public transport in the region. As a Board member of Grow Wellington, I know how important it is to support existing businesses, to grow new ones and to create jobs. It is important, however, that we get the right balance between growing our economy and looking after our environment. I am keen to be involved in these important decisions.
One of my jobs, if elected, will be to keep local people informed of the regional issues that affect them, and to work closely with the Upper Hutt City Council.
It would be a great honour to represent Upper Hutt on the Regional Council. I will work hard to make sure that our city has a strong voice in the region.
Top 5 Issues
- GREATER DEMOCRACY: It is important that Upper Hutt has a high profile in the Wellington region, given that many in central Wellington think that the region stops at the Ngauranga interchange. We have a lot to offer the region and we need to promote our issues vigorously. I will work with organisations and groups like the Upper Hutt City Council, Chamber of Commerce and NGO’s so that local issues are able to voiced regionally. I will report regularly to the Upper Hutt community on important regional matters and seek feedback on the issues of the day.
- TRANSPORT: As a former Minister of Transport, I was responsible for road and public transport funding and planning across the country, and I would like to use my experience to help improve transport in the region, which includes road, public transport and walking and cycling.
It is important to maintain the balance between improving the road network and public transport. There are a large number of people travelling around the region by road, and it is critical that bottlenecks are fixed and safety is improved. At the same time, we have to encourage more people to use public transport, which takes the pressure off our roads and is better for the environment.
Upper Hutt commuters are already seeing the benefits of road improvements on SH2 with the completion of the Dowse (Maungaraki) to Petone project. The next priorities for Upper Hutt commuters should include improving the Melling Kennedy-Good and Haywards intersections, completing safety projects on SH58 and River Road .
At the same time, fixing the decaying rail network so that the service is reliable, safe, affordable and comfortable is critical for Upper Hutt and the region. Already work is underway to upgrade the infrastructure and the first of the new trains should be in service by the end of the year.
Platform and station upgrades, double tracking from Trentham to Upper Hutt to avoid delays and improving safety at “park and ride” areas need to be promoted.
I appreciate it has been difficult to upgrade the network while still providing a full train service. However, the train operator needs to explain to Upper Hutt commuters how it will improve communication about train delays, particularly those stranded on stations, and the plans it has in place to get services running again following a major breakdown.
- WATER/NATURAL RESOURCES: Access to water is a big issue for this century. Over the next three years the regional council must plan for increased water storage. I support voluntary water conservation measures including better use of rain water for garden-watering and car-cleaning. I do not support introducing water meters (a local council decision) for residential housing, due to installation costs and the impact on tight family budgets.
It is important that we get the right balance between growing our economy and looking after our environment. The Regional Council is responsible for managing the region’s natural resources so that they can be enjoyed by future generations. I am keen to be involved in these important decisions.
- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: As a Board member of Grow Wellington, the region’s economic development agency, I am acutely aware of the need to grow the regions economy so that we can expand existing businesses, grow new ones and create jobs. Our region is competing with the rest of New Zealand, and the rest of the world, so we have to outsmart our competitors. Grow Wellington’s plan for this region to be the centre for clean technology in New Zealand is a good example of what needs to be done
- : FLOOD PROTECTION: Protecting Upper Hutt from the big flood comes at a price, but it is worth every cent. The Wellington Regional Council plans to spend around 5% of its budget this year on flood protection and safety measures.
Flood protection is one of those things that we often don’t think about until there is an emergency. We know enough about flooding disasters overseas to appreciate that spending money now and planning ahead is the way to go.
I live in central Upper Hutt with my wife and children. I am involved in their activities.
I was educated at ST Pats town, Victoria University and Wellington Teachers College.
I was the local MP for 12 years, and Minister of the Crown, including Transport, for 6 years. As the former MP, I have had a lot to do with many local community organisations over the years.
I now own two small businesses and help out with a community organisation.
My interests include sport (played rugby, soccer and cricket for many years) gardening and bush walks with my family in Kaitoke regional park.
Authorised by Paul Swain of 37 Kowhai Ave., Upper Hutt