Budget 2016: Mayors reveal their funding wishlist

By Roger Moroney

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Finance Minister Bill English looking over a copy of his Budget 2016 speech during his visit to Printlink in Petone. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Finance Minister Bill English looking over a copy of his Budget 2016 speech during his visit to Printlink in Petone. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton and his Hastings counterpart Lawrence Yule would both like to see tomorrow's Budget deliver some news on getting the State Highway 2 link through to Wairoa and Gisborne revamped and up to scratch.

"I would like to see greater funds go into regional economic development," Mr Dalton said, adding that a slice of that should be for the highway to Wairoa.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton.
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton.

"It would be good for not just Wairoa but the whole East Coast."

Mr Yule agreed, saying that was the "big money" item as he saw it in terms of supporting the regional economy.

Mr Dalton said he would also like to see some emphasis on more money being provided to help people in the community who were effectively homeless.

"We need funds for people who need help."

Mr Yule said he would like to see some form of governmental advocacy for national heritage funding - which could help with crucial work on buildings such as the Hawke's Bay Opera House.

He also wanted to see further spending in the arenas of health and law and order.

"I am increasingly concerned about how policing is being rolled out - we have to make sure the police have enough resources."

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.

He said housing affordability was another area that needed looking at.

Mr Yule felt sure the Government would be "saving some big bucks" for next year, election year.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little was, understandably, also hoping to see more funding for roading across the region - especially the SH2 link through to Napier and Hastings.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little.

He also wanted to see the Government place more focus on housing in rural areas and "take the focus away from just Auckland housing".

"There are also a lot of people suffering financially and we need to be able to help them because a lot of services have been taken away and there are people falling between the cracks."

Health and policing also needed strong focus because both had been affected by Governmental restructuring.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler said there was one thing above all he would like to see the Government do for his region.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler.
Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler.

"Put some finance into the [Ruataniwha] dam to make it happen."

He said Hawke's Bay was clearly performing well among the regions and the Government needed to acknowledge that.

He would also like to see the policing issue for Central Hawke's Bay addressed because numbers were down and the Waipawa station was now closed up.

"That is a big issue for us."

Mr Butler said it would be good if the Government could encourage, through funding or part of the overall student-loan programme, young doctors to practise in more rural regions - "to help cut the waiting lists in Waipukurau".

For Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis, getting young people in rural areas just out of school into training courses and trades is something the Government needs to address.

Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis.
Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis.

"We need more money spent on apprenticeships to take young people forward, because having a trade can make a lot of difference."

Some assistance when it came to getting young people in rural areas to get their driving licences would also be welcomed, as would something in the Budget to upgrade often-neglected rural roads. Across the wider board Mr Ellis said policing and health needed attention.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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