Safer journeys are just one of the benefits the start of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency State Highway 2 Wainui Road to Opotiki safety improvements project is aiming to deliver for locals.
Waka Kotahi regional manager Infrastructure Delivery Jo Wilton says not only will the improvements save lives, they are already creating job and training opportunities for locals.
“The project has so far resulted in full-time employment for 15 local people with civil construction company Splice Construction through the government-wide Broader Outcomes initiative,” says Jo.
“Waka Kotahi is committed to partnering with our suppliers, industry, communities, iwi and other government agencies to ensure meaningful and long-term positive outcomes for Aotearoa.”
Waka Kotahi state the broader outcomes are in addition to the core scope of the project or contract and can include social, environmental, cultural or economic benefits. This means that Waka Kotahi considers the additional benefits we can generate to achieve greater value across communities, the environment and economy.
With continued collaboration with Splice, local iwi leaders and the community, Waka Kotahi anticipates further opportunities for local people to upskill and gain long-term employment.
“This is a wonderful outcome for the people working on the project, their whanau and the Opotiki community, and we look forward continuing to work together to build on this,” says Jo.
Splice Construction director Graeme Rush wanted to establish a partnership with local iwi after winning the tender.
“The Splice ethos is to hire and develop locals to support the communities we work in,” says Graeme.
“To achieve this, we consult with and value the guidance of local leaders.
“We really want to offer opportunities to upskill people so they can develop a career that takes them as far as they want to go,” he says.
“This is just the start of what we hope to achieve. We are humbled by both the support and positive feedback we’ve received from the community and extremely proud of the work being done.”
Te Whanau-a-Apanui iwi representative Maxie Kemara advertised the employment, specific industry training and vehicle licensing training opportunities on community social media, with support provided by local organisation Te Kaha Group Limited.
“The response was very strong, with more applicants than positions available,” says Maxie.
“However, with Splice Construction set to work on further projects in the region, along with continued collaboration between Waka Kotahi, construction groups, iwi and the community, we anticipate lots more openings for local people to upskill and gain long-term employment.”
This project is being delivered as part of the speed and infrastructure programme, a key part of Road to Zero, which sets a target of reducing the amount of people killed or seriously injured on New Zealand’s roads by 40 per cent by 2030.