Tauranga's newest MP, Clayton Mitchell, has vowed to become the voice in Parliament for the Turret Rd/15th Ave portion of the Hairini Link roading project.
He made the promise to the Tauranga City Council yesterday in his farewell speech after his resignation from the council.
Mr Mitchell intends holding Prime Minister John Key to the promise he made before the 2008 elections to meet the full costs of the 15th Ave/Hairini Link.
The Government has argued that it fully funded $20 million on the early stages of the project and was committed to the $68 million Welcome Bay underpass. It would also probably fund 51 per cent of the $60 million final stage to four-lane Turret Rd and 15th Ave, bringing the Government's total investment to $115 million.
However, with the council due to take over ownership of Turret Rd and 15th Ave from the New Zealand Transport Agency, the remaining $30 million would need to be funded from ratepayers.
Mr Mitchell said he was passionate about Tauranga's issues and particularly wanted to become the voice in Parliament for the Turret Rd/15th Ave portion of the Hairini Link project.
Reflecting on his one year as a councillor, he said that compared with Parliament, it was like a Sunday-roast discussion over the family dinner table.
Mr Mitchell, who has forced a council byelection next February after becoming a New Zealand First list MP, said Parliament was a lot more daunting.
He said he wanted to acknowledge all the help he had received during his time as a councillor, and the positive direction in which the council was taking the city under Stuart Crosby's leadership.
Mr Mitchell liked the way differences between councillors stayed in meetings and did not carry through to the next meeting.
He had enjoyed being a councillor more than he expected, and although there had been positives and negatives, the negatives were not that bad. However, he did not want to spell out the positives and negatives, saying the media would dwell on the negatives.
Mr Mitchell is New Zealand First's spokesman for conservation, sport and recreation, internal affairs and industrial relations.
Mr Crosby said Mr Mitchell had brought a lot of energy to the chamber and he looked forward to hearing his explanation of "the good, the bad and the ugly" of being a councillor.