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Penlink will be built says Mayor

Penlink will be built says Mayor

Councillor Bill Smith and Rodney’s Mayor John Law šholding the all-important email received last week from Maurice Williamson announcing National’s commitment to complete Penlink.

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The announcement last week by National’s transportation spokesperson Maurice Williamson that a National government would guarantee Penlink Project’s inclusion in Transit’s 10-year roading plan has huge implications for Rodney residents, says Mayor John Law.

He said that earlier news that Penlink and other major infrastructural projects for Rodney were not included in the current Transit plan was devastating for the district. The immediate effect was to stall major developments such as Silverdale North and to produce a “lack of confidence” among investors and developers.

That confidence is returning after National’s announcement, says Mr Law. “For the first time we have a clear and unequivocal statement from a major political party that they will build Penlink—and within a definable period.

“That’s something investors have been waiting for. And they can also see that the 10 years Transit is planning for encompasses three general elections. It is inconceivable that there won’t be a National Government in that time. Labour will not govern for six consecutive terms. There will be a National Government and Penlink will be built.”

The Silverdale North Development referred to by Mr Law hit a stumbling block earlier this year when it was revealed that the roading network surround the area couldn’t accommodate such a large development without Penlink’s alternative crossing of the Weiti River and motorway on and off ramps from Bankside to Silverdale North.

The Council’s response, with no clear direction of when the Penlink was to be built, was to recommend a staged development of Silverdale North.

This was not the news developers wished to hear, says Mr Law. “And it wasn’t what we wanted, either,” he adds.

“Silverdale North is huge. We are talking here in the order of a $2 billion development and the prospect of some 4000 jobs. Yes, we need Penlink for that and we need the funding for it, and there are certain mechanisms we are investigating right now to achieve that, but what we needed most was the certainty—the absolute commitment to build Penlink. National has given us that.”

Mr Law says he has not given up on support from the Labour Government, either.š He and Councillor Bill Smith visited Wellington earlier this month in what Mr Law describes as a “bi-partisan” visit. “We talked to National and we talked to Labour. And we will continue to do that.”

And that is obviously a sentiment shared by the parties themselves. Recently a high-powered group of National party shadow ministers and leader Don Brash visited the district.

The mayor šrevealed today that he had also received a call from Deputy Prime Minister Dr Michael Cullen requesting a meeting.

“Transit and Rodney’s roading needs will be top of that meeting’s agenda,” promises an emphatic Mr Law.

ENDS

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