I had a lot of fun on a Saturday morning recently, joining in with a dedicated group of people doing a volunteer planting alongside the stream behind the Hot Rod Club in Pukekohe.
What intrigued me was there were a number of people who travelled from as far away as Newmarket and Three Kings to get stuck in and plant around 1000 plants, in an area some of them had never visited before.
Alongside our locals who came from Pukekohe and Waiuku and varied in age from around six years to quite a bit older, we (which includes my Local Board mates Murray Kay and Alan Cole as well as MP Andrew Bayly), all toiled away along the banks of the stream with a fair bit of banter, and got most of the plants in. They will now grow to create an even more attractive space.
However, the person who deserves huge praise and thanks, is local bloke Craig Prescott, not only does he do the Christmas lights at his property on Prospect Terrace to raise money for local organisations, he volunteers at community events. In this instance, he donated the plants which were purchased from the magnificent local Te Whangai Trust.
Then he spent the morning alongside a couple of outstanding Council staff, Greg Lowe and Kara Goddard, organising and planting. So to all of those who turned up and did this work, and especially to Craig for his generosity, a huge thank you.
There are some big local infrastructure promises being made before the election. Much of it has fallen out of the work and analysis undertaken over the past couple of years through the Council and Government collaboration we call the Auckland Transport Alignment Programme which has set priorities such as electrification, Mill Road corridor, upgrades of existing motorways and southern access to the airport. The big point of difference seems to be how these things are to be funded.
The choices are pretty clear cut and centre around taxes—either status quo or more. Democracy will deliver the answer.
All I will be hoping and continuing to fight for, is the honouring of all these promises and that we get the best outcomes based on real need, arrived at through robust analysis rather than what might seem popular within social or other media. Sure is going to be interesting though.
Whilst talking about Government delivered projects, it is really heartening to see NZTA engaging with the community as they consider options for the possible improvements for the motorway between Papakura and Bombay.
Whilst we need to make public transport attractive, accessible and affordable, we still need roads that can cater for the needs of our exploding population.
Having NZTA recognising this has been the culmination of a lot of hard work and I need to acknowledge Calum Penrose who was dogmatic about this. Pop in and see him at his new bakery Flour Mill in Pukekohe, he is still up for a good political chat.