National will re-invest $24 million over 10 years in Gisborne’s road network to support strong growth in the district’s forestry sector, Economic Development and Transport spokesperson Simon Bridges says.
“National is committed to delivering the infrastructure our regions need to support the growing economy. That’s why we are accelerating a package of work to upgrade and maintain the districts roads to help ensure our regions continue to thrive,” Mr Bridges says.
“We’ve made great progress in the Gisborne District recently through the establishment of Tairawhiti Roads, a joint venture between the Gisborne District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency that looks after both the local and State Highway network in Gisborne.
“The joint venture is delivering savings of around $3.3 million per year for NZTA and the Council through better management of the regions roads. National will direct NZTA to reinvest its share of those savings - $24 million over 10 years – back into improving the roading network in Gisborne.”
East Coast MP Anne Tolley says the strong growth of the forestry sector, supporting local jobs and higher incomes, has driven a significant increase in the number of heavy vehicles on Gisborne’s local and State highway networks.
“Export log volumes through Eastland Port have grown from a couple of hundred thousand tonnes in 2007 to almost 3 million tonnes now. This trend is expected to continue with the forestry sector forecast to grow further over the next few years, creating 630 new jobs in the region,” Mrs Tolley says.
“National will ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support this exponential growth.
“NZTA will work with the Gisborne District Council to use the reinvested $24 million to upgrade selected rural roads to take the heavy vehicles used by the forestry sector.”
Mr Bridges says logging is a key part of the Gisborne economy, and National will ensure the region has the roading infrastructure needed to support the growth of that industry.
“Earlier this year the National-led Government released the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan. Tairawhiti’s forestry production was identified as an opportunity for growth because the sector is not only one of the largest contributors to the community but because it contributes 14 per cent of New Zealand’s log exports,” Mr Bridges says
“I’m delighted that a re-elected National-led Government will be step in to provide the district with the roading network we need and deserve to support further growth”, Ms Tolley says.