By Jamie Strange, Labour list MP [abridged]
I have five goals that will contribute towards ensuring our region continues to grow and thrive.
1. PASSENGER RAIL
Local Councils are supportive of a passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.
NZTA have included funding in their National Land Transport Plan. I anticipate a further announcement after their Board Meeting on 5th October.
This initial rail service will be a first step towards a modern passenger rail network that serves the golden triangle between Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland.
2. AFFORDABLE HOUSING
42% of Hamiltonians are renting. Special Housing Accords are a short-tomedium term tool to bring more housing to the market through an accelerated resource consent process.
Five SHAs have passed through Hamilton City Council over the past few months, consisting of around 3,000 houses, and are currently being considered by Government.
3. COMMUNITY POLICING
This coalition Government will fund an extra 127 police officers in the Waikato region. We will also support a community policing model.
4. MAORI TOURISM
One of goals of the Waikato Tourism Agency is around the Kingitanga and New Zealand Wars. We are the sole region where the Maori King resides, and this creates huge tourism potential.
The Kingitanga treasures (taonga) are currently valued at $300 million. I believe this tourism potential is the largest un-tapped opportunity in our region.
The Waikato River is our greatest natural asset. The Waikato River Regeneration Plan is an excellent piece of work, which identifies the key practical projects that will bring about environmental benefits for our water quality.
5. SPECIAL PROJECTS
World class projects elevate a region, creating uplift for everyone. As a Government MP I bring key stakeholders together around collaborative opportunities, ensuring Government Ministers are aware of regional projects, and assisting in applying for central Government support.
I brought seven Ministers to our region in July/August, and have a further eight booked in between now and the end of the year.
I am actively supporting a number of local projects, such as:
• Tainui Inland Port
• Pacific Hub
• Te Awa Lakes (housing and tourism project)
• Northern Districts Cricket training facility
• Waikato University Sports Hub
• Waikato Regional Theatre
• a $50m sheep milk dryer at Innovation Park
• Rural Medical School
• returning All Black test matches to Hamilton
• Rototuna Hub (including a swimming pool complex)
• and a range of health, education, and tech projects.
Such is the positivity and growth in our region, new exciting projects are emerging all the time.
I have been working closely with the newly formed Te Waka (Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency), to pitch a number of key projects to Government for funding.