Driving To Deliver Your Business

Main reason for appalling state of our roads is under-resourcing

A councillor’s claim that contractors are to blame for the poor state of our roads could only ever be partly right.

The suggested full review of the Network Outcome Contracts, in place for nearly two years now, would undoubtedly confirm that “efficiencies” in them — that saved the council £4.5 million and NZTA £12.1m over five years — have helped deliver poorer outcomes for road users.

Overriding all other contributors to the current mess our roads are in, though, including very wet weather and increasing log truck traffic, is under-resourcing.

The Government acknowledged the need to hike investment in our road network when it launched the region’s economic action plan in February. Having committed about £8m to various initiatives here, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges described this as a downpayment on what would come following a regional transport review taking place this year.

Opposition parties have been largely silent so far on what they might do to support much-needed investment in our roads, preferring populist positions on rail; alternative spending that would have a very limited impact on our real transport woes.

Councillors have shown a desire to extract more money from the forestry industry to go towards the local share for roads, approving a staff recommendation to investigate a log levy. Weight-based rating for industrial road users is also a possibility.

This district is not attracting as much NZTA investment as other regions because we are not investing enough ourselves.

The local share now sits at £9.6m.

As well as seeking more money from forestry, councillors should consider raising the amount collected for roading from all ratepayers — to help attract more from NZTA, and maybe reach the total investment actually required on an ongoing basis.

That would make the debate over what potential projects need to be left out of the 10-year Long-Term Plan, and how much overall rates should rise, even trickier . . . and more contentious out in the communities that councillors are governing for.

A councillor’s claim that contractors are to blame for the poor state of our roads could only ever be partly right.

The suggested full review of the Network Outcome Contracts, in place for nearly two years now, would undoubtedly confirm that “efficiencies” in them — that saved the council £4.5 million and NZTA £12.1m over five years — have helped deliver poorer outcomes for road users.

Overriding all other contributors to the current mess our roads are in, though, including very wet weather and increasing log truck traffic, is under-resourcing.

The Government acknowledged the need to hike investment in our road network when it launched the region’s economic action plan in February. Having committed about £8m to various initiatives here, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges described this as a downpayment on what would come following a regional transport review taking place this year.

Opposition parties have been largely silent so far on what they might do to support much-needed investment in our roads, preferring populist positions on rail; alternative spending that would have a very limited impact on our real transport woes.

Councillors have shown a desire to extract more money from the forestry industry to go towards the local share for roads, approving a staff recommendation to investigate a log levy. Weight-based rating for industrial road users is also a possibility.

This district is not attracting as much NZTA investment as other regions because we are not investing enough ourselves.

The local share now sits at £9.6m.

As well as seeking more money from forestry, councillors should consider raising the amount collected for roading from all ratepayers — to help attract more from NZTA, and maybe reach the total investment actually required on an ongoing basis.

That would make the debate over what potential projects need to be left out of the 10-year Long-Term Plan, and how much overall rates should rise, even trickier . . . and more contentious out in the communities that councillors are governing for.



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