Auckland will suffer a transport heart attack if improvements aren’t made to the Mill Road corridor, MPs for Papakura and Hunua Judith Collins and Andrew Bayly say.
“The $1 billion Mill Road transport project is vital to meet the needs of the increasing population and business development in the Franklin area, and the pressing need to create additional capacity for the motorway network,” Ms Collins says.
“National had promised to turn the road into a major arterial transport route into Auckland. But the Government’s decision to slash road funding has put this long-signalled upgrade at risk.
“In order to fast-track this project, the previous National Government announced the Mill Road project as a state highway, removing the responsibility from Auckland Council.
“This would have provided funding certainty for this important project through the National Land Transport Fund and free up capital for Auckland Council to reinvest in other high priority transport projects.
“It also meant the Government could use the ‘fast-track’ provisions of the Resources Management Act to consent this entire motorway within nine months. Under the current arrangement, it will take years just to get the additional consent for the extension to the Southern Motorway.”
“Upgrading the Mill Road corridor project is fundamental to the growth of the South Auckland region. It will help improve road safety, support future growth areas and improve access to new employment opportunities in Drury South,” Mr Bayly says
“It would also provide an alternative north-south corridor in case of a major disruption or emergency on other southern arterial routes.
“The Government has instead stripped back the project, despite the upgrade promising resilience to the only part of the Auckland motorway that is vulnerable. It would have also facilitated the growth of a major industrial development and help address the south’s infrastructure deficit in terms of road access.
“Transport Minister Phil Twyford’s decision to reassess Mill Road adds up to a lack of certainty, further delays and additional costs. The longer the Government delays the worse the situation becomes for our constituents.”
Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa has no real idea of why the building sector is in crisis, National’s Building and Construction spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.
Mr Bayly asked in Parliament’s Question Time today technical questions to Ms Salesa regarding Government construction procurement and whether construction costs would increase as a result of enforcing whole-of-life costing.
“Unfortunately, the only outcome of the emergency meeting Ms Salesa convened on Monday to address issues surrounding procurement was a statement that she would make sure Government agencies adhere to the procurement guidelines.
“But after being questioned in the House today about which Government agencies she was talking about and what procedures she will put in place to make sure they stick to the guidelines, she had no substantive answers.
“It is clear that the Minister is insufficiently aware of what those guidelines entail.
“What we have here is a Minister who can’t answer technical questions central to the procurement issue. She needs to know her stuff.
“Even more crucially, she also needs to recognise and deal with the underlying causes of the problems dogging the industry.
“Government procurement makes up around 18 per cent of the vertical construction sector.
“And while procurement is essential – and some agencies do it well, and some agencies don’t - it’s not the only pressing issue facing the construction industry.
“It is also suffering significant impact from increasing consenting costs and lack of skilled labour as well as problems with the rules around building product standards.
“The Minister needs to understand those underlying problems are even more critical than procurement.
“Her lack of knowledge around the crucial issues is the most disturbing aspect of this whole scenario.”
The Government’s decision to suspend certificates for combustible cladding similar to that found in horrific Grenfell Tower fire is welcomed by National Party Building and Construction spokesperson Andrew Bayly.
Today the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment announced it has suspended of six aluminium composite panel (ACP) CodeMark certificates. The Grenfell Tower residential high-rise fire in London killed 72 people after cladding on the building combusted.
“It has taken the Government too long to take action given that a report damning the certification of these aluminium composite panels in New Zealand was delivered to the Government in November last year,” Mr Bayly says.
“This is a good decision and also acknowledges the work of others to bring this to the attention of the Government.
“However, the suspension continues to raise the issue of the integrity of the CodeMark system which is the highest standard of certification of new products able to be used in New Zealand.
“In particular, it also raises issues around Brisbane-based CertMark which issued this particular set of ACP certifications, but also prepares approximately 50 per cent of all new product certifications in the New Zealand market.
“There is still a range of substandard materials coming into New Zealand, including substandard electrical cabling which has been used in multiple Auckland apartments, structural steel and plumbing ware, and shower glass that doesn’t meet safety requirements.
“Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa must address the integrity of CodeMark and I will continue to hold the Government to account to ensure that it learns from overseas experience and keeps New Zealanders safe.”
Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa is sitting on her hands and reports outlining major safety concerns, while dangerous aluminium composite panels are still being used to construct new buildings, National’s Building and Construction spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.
“A year on from London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy, where the highly combustible panels directly contributed to the fire claiming 72 lives, Ms Salesa is refusing to take immediate action to improve New Zealanders’ safety. There is no excuse.
“Today in Parliament, the Minister hid behind operational responsibility. She has effectively washed her hands of the matter and said that this is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
“Ms Salesa has received two reports recommending these same aluminium composite panels as used on Greenfell Tower should be banned from use on new buildings here.
“Given the revelation that there are 25 buildings in Auckland which have installed the highly inflammable polyester composite ACP products, as well as buildings in Wellington and Christchurch, then New Zealanders deserve action.
“While the risk in New Zealand is lower due to the overall construction of the buildings and additional fire safety measures, this serious issue requires a swift response from the Minister and as much information as possible in the public domain – but we’re getting neither.
“The Minister needs to urgently explain why is allowing her officials to sit on these reports for so long. She needs to put a stop to the use of these dangerous building materials in New Zealand.”
Recently convened a meeting of many of the providers of community services in Franklin to discuss how we can collaborate better in order to assist our families in need. The first step is to get everyone to put their contact details on Healthpoint, a website run by CMDHB so we know who to contact.