Auckland's Upper Harbour needs more infrastructure funding, deputy PM says video

Denise Piper/FAIRFAX NZ

Paula Bennett talks about the infrastructure issues facing Upper Harbour.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett admits she is not shy to use her ranking in Parliament to get more infrastructure funding for her Auckland electorate of Upper Harbour.

The need for more infrastructure was the biggest issue facing Upper Harbour, Bennett said in a North Shore Times Facebook Live interview.

"I just go transport, transport and more transport please," she said.

Paula Bennett is deputy prime minister, Upper Harbour MP, plus minister for climate change issues, police, state ...
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Paula Bennett is deputy prime minister, Upper Harbour MP, plus minister for climate change issues, police, state services, tourism and women.

"That's everything from public transport, through to our motorways and highways, on and off ramps and ferry service; you name it, it's really important to constituents and the people of Upper Harbour," Bennett said.

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"I always say in Wellington, it's personal, because you're actually keeping parents away from having dinner with their children every night ... It's more than just the vehicle or the road, it's actually how people live their lives."

Just providing public transport was not the answer, as that was not practical for everyone who had multiple journeys to make, Bennett said.

"[Drivers] they want to go to the supermarket or pick up their kids from childcare," she said.

As deputy prime minister, Bennett said she was not shy to influence the National caucus to provide more funding for Upper Harbour's infrastructure.

"I'm one voice in a team, but it's a pretty loud and strident and stroppy one.

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"I'm deputy prime minister for all of New Zealand but, yeah, I do get to influence it [the funding], of course I do."

Bennett said she hoped Upper Harbour residents were "a little bit proud" of the fact their MP was deputy prime minister and the second ranked member of Parliament.

Upper Harbour was one of the country's newest electorates and was created in 2014 due to population growth in Auckland.

Bennett admitted people often got confused about the boundaries. The Upper Harbour electorate included Massey, Hobsonville, Greenhithe, and Unsworth Heights to Glenfield.

"It's a long, skinny [electorate] with really distinct communities and not communities that have a lot in common," she said.

To connect with constituents, Bennett held "random morning teas" inviting people randomly out of the electoral roll to have a chat.

She encouraged local people to vote in the elections, no matter what party they voted for.

 - Stuff

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