What progress has been made on the Waikato Expressway Road of National Significance?
This morning I was in Ngāruawāhia to turn the first sod, beginning construction on the $150 million bypass project, which will add 12.3 kilometres to the Waikato Expressway. Construction of the Ngāruawāhia section is expected to create up to 300 local jobs, with many more created in downstream industries, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to boost regional economies with further infrastructure investment. The project is expected to take only 2 years to finish, because things are moving much faster under this Government. It will help to make the journey between the Waikato and Auckland shorter and faster.
What risks are there that the Waikato Expressway will not be completed within the 10-year time frame?
There is only a small risk that the Waikato Expressway may not be finished on time. This was raised with me this morning by the Waikato Times. This scenario would occur if, for example, funding for roading infrastructure on the expressway was diverted to other projects, particularly non-roading projects. This would be a serious blow for the Waikato, because the project, of course, will lift productivity, create local jobs, and get Waikato goods to market faster. As I said to the Waikato Times, this scenario would occur only if Labour or the Greens became the Government and slashed investment in infrastructure, so the reporter would have to ask them.