That is where Dargaville comes in

by Matt King, Northland’s Member of Parliament

The NZ Transport Agency is the government agency that plans manages and maintains our state highways.

That is a huge responsibility and, yes, there are occasions the NZTA can’t and don’t please everybody.

However, they do a pretty good job.

Up here in the north, among other initiatives, they responded immediately to the previous government’s call for the two-laning of some of our most important bridges — Matakohe and Taipa are well advanced.

They have responded with somewhat less surety to serious safety concerns regarding Auckland to Whangarei, but that is probably attributable to the present government’s confusion (read: disarray) about what it actually wants.

When the NZTA is left to its own devices, it can display visionary and pragmatic thinking.

That is where Dargaville comes in.

Last week NZTA organised a Twin Coast Discovery Highway design workshop in Dargaville. Its purpose was to identify potential improvement opportunities along the highway; an 800-kilometre circular touring route in Northland connecting key tourist attractions and communities.

Important stuff, and I am pleased NZTA chose Dargaville for one of their workshops. I am even more pleased with this NZTA statement:

“Dargaville has been identified as a key link for people connecting around the region… we want to make sure that the community has an opportunity to give their input.”

Good on the NZTA for having that approach. It is a government department that doesn’t act unilaterally, that recognises (at least on this occasion) its primary responsibility is to the public (with whom it wants to foster a partnership), and is prepared to involve us in its planning process.

We could do with more of that.

I commend the NZTA and Isthmus who organised and attended this highly productive event, and the ‘locals’ who took up the opportunity and the invitation to give their input.

It’s a credit to all involved.