Baker’s Banter- 03 October

So the election is done, the voting over and now we sit back and wait to see who we have as a Government. Where we head in a variety of directions, what will be delivered from all the promises and most importantly when.

For us in Franklin, it is within the ‘when’ that the biggest differences lie.

The incumbent Government has said it will fast track the electrification to Pukekohe (will be interesting to see if that has any impact on the decision to purchase hybrid trains) and the Mill Road Corridor project, whilst the main opposition party has stated its priority is with light rail to the airport.

For me the most worrying statement of the whole campaign relating to what Council and the community have been through in recent times was a senior member of an opposition party basically saying they will simply rewrite parts of the Unitary Plan to suit their view of the world. Seemingly giving the fingers to those who took part in a consultation, submission and hearing process. The Plan doesn’t suit everyone but it was arrived at by way of democracy.

Whilst we heard a lot of promises about provision of infrastructure like roads, something I may have missed or that may not have been included at all is around broadband. Yes, there has been a much trumpeted ultra fast and rural broadband initiatives but you know what, there are still large chunks of Franklin, within 30 km of central Auckland still with broadband at speeds not much faster than good old dial up.

Nothing beats a good bit of buffering when you are trying to download, upload or watch something. I, like parts of the Awhitu Peninsula can see the Sky Tower from my house, I live 3km from the motorway and 2.5km from the nearest urban development and yet my limited internet options are slow and costly.

I have real sympathy for those on even worse speeds and/or who still have no or poor mobile phone coverage. I really want to see our two re-elected MPs in the Franklin ward and new MP in the Waikato take up the challenge of getting improvements to our broadband and mobile networks.

We should be encouraging people to be able to work from home or work remotely, however if the basic infrastructure isn’t there to do that, then we will continue to see people clogging the roads all heading off to their offices and work places at the same time.

I have despaired at our main stream media’s response to the situation we are in which has always been a very real proposition under our MMP electoral system. We have had reporters and commentators seemingly interviewing the mirror and coming up with all manner of scenarios and stories, spreading of word from “reliable sources” within one party or another. Lucky I didn’t think some of those reporters had any credibility anyway. Seems it is more important to be first than to be factual.

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