Marlborough Express - Reaching out

Columns
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

State highway one, from Blenheim to Amberley is a fantastic drive and despite driving the route regularly I am yet to tire of it. I have travelled the full length of the electorate four times in the last fortnight as I settle into a routine.

Most people are surprised to learn that the Kaikoura electorate is the fourth largest general seat covering over 21,000 square kilometres. Although most of the population lives in the urban area in the northern part of the electorate, the remainder are spread out over a long, narrow, and at times, rugged strip of land. From my home it is a four hour drive to the southern tip of the electorate which is just south of Amberley, and a long winding drive and boat ride to the northern tip on D’Urville Island.


Although my preference, it is not always possible to meet with constituents face to face. I do have to depend on other forms of communication to reach them. With a heavy reliance on the internet, I am reminded on a daily basis just how important fast broadband is to our community.

Across NZ connections to broadband have increased by nearly forty per cent over the last quarter, meaning more households, hospitals, businesses, and schools have joined the fibre network.

In Blenheim 200 more users connected to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) in the past quarter. That’s a 30% increase.

Faster broadband is critical to growing the local economy, driving innovation, and improving outcomes in education, health, and the not-for-profit sector. This is particularly so in an electorate of our size and it’s something I want to see rolled-out with as little incident as possible.

Not to say that there won’t be the odd pain here and there, take our new electorate office premises for example, we have fibre right into our building but it is going to take another metre or two for us to be fully operational, we are on a waiting list like everyone else!

Our new electorate office is based in Blenheim at 22 Scott Street. We are up and running, albeit on a limited basis while the builders finish some minor alterations. We plan to have a formal opening when everything is in place at which time we hope you will visit and have a look for yourself. In the meantime, I am available to meet by appointment. My contact number is 03 579 3204.