Government elections – a need to include better funding for road maintenance. by Cr Greg Sayers, Councillor for the Rodney ward

What is happening about the maintenance of our sealed and unsealed roads?

Roads are utilised by buses, cyclists, commercial and private vehicles. Everyone wants to use safe, good quality roads.

Yet the number of potholes, uncleared drains and blocked culverts are more abundant now than ever before. Repair costs to vehicles and safety for people are being compromised. Why?

The issue of roads “potholing” and poor road side drainage is being reported all across New Zealand and is not just isolated to Rodney’s roads.

So why isn’t Auckland Transport able to get on top of properly maintaining our roads?

The answer is relatively simple. For every dollar of ratepayer’s money Auckland Transport gets it is subsidised another dollar from NZTA. That is how Auckland Transport is funded.

Those Government subsidies are being weighted more heavily towards providing public transport than towards improving the maintenance standards of the roads. This government directive is clearly outlined in the Government Policy Statement for Land Transport, which is set by the Minister of Transport. A balanced amount of funding is not being allocated for road maintenance.

This explains why the roads are in such a poor state.

The Government, through the Minister of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZTA, has intentionally set spending this way. This policy in turn cascades down and sets Auckland Transport’s spending priorities because NZTA matches Auckland Transport’s ratepayer provided funding, on the proviso the money is spent on the Minister’s priorities.

Are any of the parliamentary candidates electioneering to change this Policy? If not, write to them to ask why.

Locally, ratepayers are extremely frustrated, they pay their rates in good faith, assuming their money will go into their local needs, which for rural Rodney is maintaining the unsealed roads, including keeping the drains and culverts clear.

Until the priority on transport spending changes at a central Government level, Auckland Transport has one hand tied behind its back in its ability to maintain Auckland’s roads to the acceptable and safe standards that rural ratepayers expect.

Without a change in NZTA’s directive for funding Auckland Transport, we will not see any significant improvements to the maintenance standards of our roads.

It is an election year and only when the government changes the funding formula to include a fair portion of funding for maintaining the unsealed and sealed roading networks will we see the state of our roads to improve.

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