Roading is always a hot topic in Oamaru.
This makes sense: roads are vital to a region’s economic growth.
Roads are critical to the community, visitors, tourists, farmers, forestry workers, logging trucks, fishermen and businesses.
However, many of New Zealand’s roads need attention.
Since coming to office, we’ve focused on tackling the big, long-term challenges facing New Zealand.
We inherited crumbling hospitals, a housing crisis, stretched public services and a growing gap between rich and poor.
There was a lot of work to do – and we’ve made good progress fixing things up.
Take the enormous infrastructure deficit we inherited. In response, we announced the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission and a plan to lift capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years.
Oamaru has been the focus of a few recent investment announcements. A project to improve flood mitigation at the Kakanui River flood plain has received $2million, and will raise a 200m section of the state highway as well as install culverts.
As locals know, floods in this area cause the closure of the road every couple of years, and there’s no effective or reliable detour.
Safety is our top transport priority, and this investment will mean less risk on the roads for the community across the Waitaki.
It will also contribute to regional economic development by reducing the frequency of road closures during flooding events. This helps to keep the communities of North Otago connected and safe.
This is part of the Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme, the largest investment in infrastructure in a generation.
It is helping future-proof our country by delivering new and upgraded roads, rail, schools and hospitals across the country.
In another win for Oamaru, ChargeSmart Ltd was recently awarded funding to provide overnight charging to electric vehicle travellers in Oamaru, among other regional centres.
This funding came in the latest round of the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, which helps to deliver infrastructure and options for low-emissions transport. Having more electric vehicle chargers in the regions is good for both local and travelling electric vehicle owners.
Investing in infrastructure will enhance regional economic opportunities, create jobs, boost infrastructure resilience and help our regions thrive. With debt low and borrowing costs at record lows, now’s the time to invest.
Investing in essential infrastructure will help us ensure our kids and grandkids can grow up in the kind of country we’ve enjoyed.