Weekend Sun column

Friday, June 10, 2016

Education Minister Hekia Parata’s announcement last week at Welcome Bay School that the National-led Government is investing over $20 million in school property in the region is great news for Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. This includes a new school in the Pyes Pa area, which will cater for families in the Pyes Pa, the Lakes and other nearby suburbs.

I have met with several local principals and have been in discussions with them about their growing rolls and what was needed to help them.

I have been able to pass this information to the Education Minister, and in addition to the new school at Pyes Pa, there will be two new classrooms each at Welcome Bay School, Oropi School and Maungatapu School. Other schools including Pillans Point Primary and Matua Primary have already had provision for new classrooms made.

This idea of planning ahead and ensuring we can manage our population growth was also behind the Government’s release of the draft National Policy Statement of Urban Development Capacity last week.

Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty area has a projected population growth of 15.1 per cent by 2023, second only to Auckland. The statement would require councils to ensure there is sufficient land supply for housing and business to match this projected growth, which will help to address issues around housing affordability. This is one of my main priorities as your local Member of Parliament, and I am confident we can work with local government to ensure we have long-term solutions.