‘Cheap, short-term focus in the Pacific’

New Zealand high Commission Jonathan Curr (right) speaks with his 1st Secretary sally Waswo as the ESCAP representative Iosefa Maiava looks on during the 5th Pacific Urban Forum in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

DEVELOPMENT in the Pacific has been focused on cheap, short-term fixes rather than long term aspirations, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking at the fifth Pacific Urban Forum (PUF) in Nadi yesterday, he explained this was the result of either the lack of resources or the lack of inclination.

“Let me give you an example, a road may need to be extended to a new area, so we build one,” he said.

“But 20 years later, that road is too narrow to serve increasing flows of traffic. “When we go to expand that road, unfortunately, we also need to remove and replace the water and wastewater pipes that were impractically built directly adjacent or even underneath the road itself.

“We need to entirely repave shoddy sections of roadway that weren’t built to standards or to withstand climate impacts. We need to move homes, businesses and other infrastructure constructed by the roadside. ”

And, when all is said and done, the project ends up costing too much and taking too long all because of short-sighted planning two decades prior.”

He said the region’s development planners were now changing their mindsets.

“Now, we’re thinking differently, prioritising future growth and development from the start of every development project.

“Our five-year and 20-year National Development Plan have set out comprehensive blueprints for our national development, with specific benchmarks to measure progress and regular reviews to keep our eyes set on updated long-term aspirations.”

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