I am passionate about the Waikato region. I have five current goals to ensure it continues to grow and thrive.
1. Passenger rail
All local councils are supportive of a passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland. It will be a modern transport network that unlocks growth in our region.
NZTA has included funding in their National Land Transport Plan. I anticipate a further announcement after their Board Meeting on October 5.
I expect half a million people will settle in the Hamilton-to-Auckland corridor within 30 years, as Government, developers, and tourism operators turn their attention to this region.
2. Affordable housing
Many Hamiltonians (42 per cent rent) would like to own a home, but due to rising house prices are unable to. This Government is working to encourage home ownership through KiwiBuild, various grants, and potential shared-equity schemes.
Special Housing Accords (SHAs) are a tool to bring housing to the market through an accelerated resource consent process. A portion of these houses must be under $500k. Hamilton-based SHAs have recently passed around 3000 houses; these are currently being considered by Government.
3. Community policing
Our police officers do a fantastic job in our community, often at the hard edge of society. This coalition Government will fund an extra 127 police officers in the Waikato region over the next five years. I support a community policing model. Increasing police resourcing will enable our police force to do more in our communities, preventing crime through building relationships with local families and communities.
4. Māori tourism
One of goals of the Waikato Tourism Agency is around the Kingitanga and New Zealand Wars. The Kingitanga taonga (treasures) are currently valued at $300 million. This Māori tourism opportunity is the largest untapped potential in our region. The Waikato River is our greatest natural asset. I appreciate the work that has taken place by developers to turn Hamilton to face the river, opening this area up, as we work to improve its water quality.
5. Special projects
As a Government MP, I bring key stakeholders together around collaborative opportunities.
I am actively supporting the following local projects; Tainui Inland Port, Pacific Hub, Te Awa Lakes, Te Waka (REDA), Northern Districts Cricket training facility, Waikato University Sports Hub, Regional Theatre, Sheep milk dryer at Innovation Park, Rural Medical School, returning All Black tests to Hamilton, Rototuna Hub, and a number of health, education and tech projects. Such is the positivity and growth in our region, new exciting projects are emerging all the time.