On the 13th of June, we lost a much-loved father, husband and highly respected member of our community, Nick Saull. Nick’s wife Jan and their children were quickly wrapped in support by friends, family and our community. I would like to make special mention of the Red Beach Surf Lifesaving club and the North Shore and Silverdale Rugby clubs who had all played a big part in Nick’s life and whose members quickly mobilised to support Jan and the children.
I knew Nick personally through both family and surf lifesaving. He was a man of huge integrity, a true gentle giant who was a loving provider and protector to his family and who gave so much back to his community. The number of people at both his paddle out at Red Beach and his service at the North Harbour Stadium were a testament to how many lives he touched and the respect, admiration and love that people have for him.
As an area of Auckland that is growing quickly and welcoming new residents on a daily basis, investment into infrastructure and services to support our growth remains a prime focus for me.
Because of this I welcomed an announcement made by the Prime Minister recently of a $1billion fund established to accelerate housing infrastructure.
The fund will be available to invest up front to ensure that required infrastructure is in place. Councils will have to repay the investment or buy the assets once the houses have been built and development contributions paid. To access the fund the council must outline how many new houses will be built, where they will be built and when they will be available. The fund allows them to borrow for developmental housing investment, increasing economic productivity while simultaneously allowing councils to address infrastructure requirements, which hold up development.
Community safety is also an important focus for me and I liaise closely with our local agencies to ensure that the highest level of service is being delivered into our communities, whilst listening closely to our local agency leaders.
Road safety is an issue that has touched our communities significantly over the last few weeks. We have had a recent spat of serious accidents on SH1 between Puhoi and Wellsford. In June, the Government announced its plan to invest $600m into a road safety package, to reduce New Zealand’s road toll. With this new roading package rollout, $25m will be invested into the Dome Valley on safety improvements. Investment into measures like new side barriers, wide centre lines and median barriers will make a significant impact on increased safety on what is a notoriously dangerous stretch of road.
With this in mind, I would like to acknowledge our emergency services who always respond quickly to motor vehicle accidents, provide medical assistance, remove hazards and restore traffic flow as quickly as they can. On a final note could I please make an appeal that we all remain vigilant and aware of other road users and possible hazards. Remaining focused and aware helps make our journeys safer.
Column in Local Matters NZ