Posted by Andrew Knowles
Dean introduced the MP for Tauranga, Simon Bridges. Of course, an “apolitical” speech, but really, what do we expect, given the timing. No surprises, all is well in the land. Tauranga has good bones.
Except for some aspects that Simon mentioned. With strong local growth, we have another growth industry, the local gang pads, and Simon gave us some information many of us were ignorant about, their exact headquarter locations.
Big spend up on roads, more emphasis required on CBD facilities, science & innovation, then the dreaded M word, which must cause our city councillors to rest uneasy in their beds. Yes, Simon supports a museum.
Then, on to the attack on our sleepy Regional council, “cruising”. I could feel the bristles rising from a certain regional Council member who happened to be sitting beside me.
Then, a plea to our leading local businesses to offer more local community support, to flesh out the “good bones”.
On to questions: Why do we have two thirds of the country’s toll roads? Partly decisions, which he seemed to think were somewhat illogical, by his predecessors, and partly the local desire to pay a toll to get the eastern link more quickly. He seemed to be surprised by the next questioner, Mike Batchelor, who expressed support for the concept of road tolling. Apparently this support is unusual, but generally, he supports the concept in crowded places like Auckland.
It was a surprisingly frank and hard hitting speech, in the circumstances.
Thanks were given by Steve Read, who, tongue in cheek, wanted a hold put on a possible new passenger rail service from Auckland. Or just an embargo on a particular passenger?.