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Money pots for pothole repairs

Cape Palliser Rd took a battering after a recent storm. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

Wairarapa farmer and Federated Farmers vice-president Karen Williams is welcoming the news that government has shifted funding for local road maintenance back up a gear.

Federated Farmers vice-president Karen Williams. PHOTOS/FILE

She said rural families were dismayed by potholed access and dilapidated bridges.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said in its 2021 to 2024 National Land Transport Programme document that funding had been targeted to deliver a land transport system that is safe and accessible; that supports Aotearoa’s economic recovery and continues our transition to a more sustainable transport system.

“Through this investment we’re connecting people, products, and places – and investing in the planning that will help ensure Aotearoa thrives.”

NZTA said that, to ensure it could deliver better outcomes for New Zealand, the Crown had provided “comfort” they would provide significant additional financing of $2 billion.

It said for the future of the NLTP, further increases in the level of funding or financing would be required for New Zealand’s to transition to a low carbon future and meet emerging transport
emissions reduction targets.

“Aotearoa faces increasing costs to maintain existing assets. The transport system has grown and become more complex, costs for labour and materials continue to increase.”

NZTA said the network was being accessed by more and larger vehicles, and there are increasing impacts from climate change, with more frequent and severe weather events.

Children walk to school across broken Hinakura Rd.

Williams said what was needed now was for district councils all over New Zealand to dedicate a significant portion of this increased funding to dealing with the backlog of repairs to rural roads and bridges.

She said earlier this year, right when the nation’s district and city councils were finalising long-term plan budgets, NZTA warned it was $420 million short for the local road subsidies it had already indicatively approved.

“Today, in announcing final decisions on the 2021 to 2024 NLTP, the government responded to the outcry this caused with an extra $2 billion for local road maintenance.”

Williams said the extra funding brought the amount available for local road and state highway maintenance to $7 billion over the next three years.

“This should mean that councils can re-dedicate themselves to those roading projects that were under threat from the reduced Waka Kotahi subsidies.”

She said in putting together its submission on the government policy statement on land transport last year, Federated Farmers heard from members in many districts lamenting slumping rural roads, crumbling asphalt and bridges with suspect decking and pools of water.

“Urban folk can often choose public transport or take a different route that might add five or 10 minutes to a journey.”

Williams said Federated Farmers was interested to see how the extra government transport funding was allocated.

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