From Penk’s Pen – Road Repair Recklessness

There’s a fine line between an excuse and a reason.  Whose fault is X?  When did Y begin?

When it comes to the state of our rural roads, your vehicle doesn’t understand the difference.  Put more precisely: your wheels don’t know and your axle doesn’t care.

I’m much more interested in talking to someone (anyone!) who can help change the situation.  But, in order to do that, it’s important to highlight the issue so that we’re all starting on common ground about what’s needed.

At least half the calls and emails received by my electorate office in the opening weeks of January (and most of the social media interactions!) have been about the state of road in north and northwest Auckland.  Naturally I respond by making this my priority in terms of lobbying for change.

I’ve written a letter setting out the situation and appealing for assistance.  That’s gone to everyone in the central government world of transport policy from the Minister down.  And in the local government space I’ve included various key figures, with elected representatives and Auckland Transport among them.

The priority going forward should be an effective, timely management maintain and repair the roads, culverts, potholes and ruts.  In other words, we need a maintenance programme that works.  Instead of pouring money into the cracks like so much “hot mix” that lasts just days or weeks, we need to invest properly.

We also need to move past the culture of excuse-making that points to the fact that it rains lots in Auckland (no kidding), that more funding would be helpful (wouldn’t it always), there are still issues related to covid19 (seriously?) and the prioritisation of other projects (now we’re getting warm: think that infamous bike bridge proposed for the Harbour Bridge).

The big debate in relation to central and local government shouldn’t be in the nitty gritty of funding percentages.  We must be honest about what we expect council agencies to do:  get the basics right and leave the fluffy stuff well alone.

I’m pleased that National remains firmly of the view that the Local Government Act should be amended back to mandating councils to do the basics.  The expansionist aims of the current government need to be reversed, so that ratepayer revenue can be spent where it counts.  Like on the roads.

The view of one of our readers.

Thought this permanently placed ‘safety’ signage may interest the newsletter. Steep part of Kiwitahi Road which is narrow and already a hazard just became a greater hazard. Fulton Hogan with a directive from what I assume is the council just placed this signage which cannot be safely viewed when travelling in either direction.....We just want potholes fixed but our rates payments result in this...

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