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Hastings transport safety projects funding generates jobs

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With the aid of Government support for shovel-ready projects in Hastings, work is about to get underway on a number of roading projects across the district, with the employment of local people a key focus.

This morning Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau joined Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, and some of the contractors and crew involved, at one of these projects at Waipatu to improve the safety of State Highway 51 between Kenilworth and Ruahapia Roads.

As part its COVID-19 recovery response, Hastings District Council applied for and received $9.37m from Central Government for the projects that include safety measures, footpath and lighting, and iWay walking and cycling improvements.

Mr Tabuteau said it was good to be at Waipatu to see an example of some of the work the investment would go towards, and he acknowledged the contractors and crews.

“”Today is about a response to COVID primarily, it’s about redeployment back into jobs and reskilling for new jobs.”

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst that while COVID had been challenging, now was a time of positive opportunity.

“It’s exciting today to meet some of our small businesses in Hastings, Heretaunga, who are going to help us with these projects – with 5000kms of roads to look after, council is grateful for the government’s support.”

A key component of the funding was the commitment by both government and council to address rising unemployment numbers due to the COVID-19 crisis.

As such, council has partnered with MSD to create local employment opportunities for those people who have been displaced, either temporarily or permanently, due to their place of employment being impacted by COVID-19 and/or the Government’s response to it, through its “Jobs for Heretaunga” initiative.

Guiding this initiative is council’s new procurement policy and strategy that was adopted in May this year, and puts a heightened focus on achieving more than just competitive pricing, seeking a broader public value and getting the best result over the whole life of the goods, services or works.

With this in mind council has contracted the following local companies to carry out the roading work:

Higgins (and subcontractors) – SH51

Topline Contracting – Karamu and Bennett Rd footpaths

Downer NZ, Fulton Hogan and Russell Roads – Various roading projects and iWay improvements.

Dodge Contracting, ACL Civil, Proseal, McNatty Construction Ltd – Various new footpaths and guardrail projects.

Topline Contracting director Taurus Taurima said it was a good opportunity to support people into work.

“We have 11 new apprenticeship jobs from this – some redeployed and some new into the industry.”

Through Jobs for Heretaunga, pastoral care will also be provided for workers to support their wellbeing, as well as that of their whānau, and the employers, along with career plan development and links to training opportunities aimed at securing long-term, sustainable employment.

Pic: From left Higgins Hawke’s Bay manager Michael Job, Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau and Topline Contracting director Taurus Taurima turn the sod on the Waipatu safety project.

7 August 2020

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