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National’s petition to extend the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to Tirau and from Cambridge to the Kaimai Range was launched today, announced MPs for Tauranga and Hamilton East, Simon Bridges and David Bennett.

“This is one of a series of petitions National is launching aimed at saving regional highway projects that are at risk of being canned by the new Government,” says Mr Bridges.

“Strengthening the link between the Bay of Plenty and Hamilton is fundamental to economic growth. Tauranga is New Zealand’s main port and Hamilton provides many services such as health and education to the south Waikato.

“Getting rid of National’s expressway extensions would put a dampener on the great growth we have seen in Tauranga, the wider Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, and wider Waikato.”

Mr Bennett says it would also mean longer, less reliable journey times and more deaths and serious injuries. “No one has ever died on one of National’s four lane highways given their safety features. The further improvements we were planning would save many lives.”

“National knows that developing infrastructure is essential for the regions to build on their economic growth. When we realised that the Government wasn’t going to prioritise these projects, we knew we had to stand up and be counted. We want to show the Government that the regional communities are behind these projects.

“The people in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty have great drive and ambition; we just need the Government to support it.

“As Government prioritises light rail in Auckland, our petition aims to show them that the Waikato and Bay of Plenty refuse to be left behind.”

The petition can be found here.

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