Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall will have a strong message for Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones when he visits the city today, Thursday, December 14.
Mr McDouall told the Whanganui and Partners public forum on Tuesday, December 12, he had written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Mr Jones to remind them of Labour's pre-election commitments to funding for the Cooks Gardens velodrome and the north and south moles "and they can break them at their peril".
When Ms Ardern, in her role as Labour Party leader, visited Whanganui in September 2017 she said Labour would match the National Party's pledge to put $6 million into the Whanganui velodrome roof project if it was in Government after the election.
She also reiterated a "firm commitment" to putting $3 million into repairing the north and south moles at the Whanganui River mouth, saying the money for the moles was vital as part of a port redevelopment which would create job opportunities.
Asked about the future of the proposed port development, Whanganui and Partners chairman Myles Fothergill told the public forum the new government had indicated a focus on the regions and he wanted to ensure some of the $1 billion regional investment comes to Whanganui.
"It's not just for the river and port but economic growth for the region," Mr Fothergill said.
"This week's visit will be a meet and greet and get to know the minister. We won't be lobbying but we will be advocating."
The $1 billion Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund was agreed between Labour and New Zealand First as part of the coalition agreement. The fund will invest in large-scale capital projects in the regions. The criteria for the fund are being finalised.