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Provincial and rural roads left behind

Provincial and rural roads left behind

Local Government New Zealand is asking the Government to recognise the increasing maintenance costs of roads that are falling on provincial and rural local authorities and their communities. The risks of deferred maintenance are considerable.

Yesterday representatives from Local Government New Zealand and the local government sector met with the Transfund Board to express their concerns.

Local authorities are calling for an increase in the financial assistance rate from 50% to 60% to match the 60% rate for new works. By weighting the game in favour of new construction ahead of maintenance, Transfund is sending the wrong signals. It is believed this change can be funded from existing revenue received by Transfund.

“The additional productivity in the rural sector is of significant benefit to our country, however, the increased wear and tear of heavy vehicles on our rural roads is placing an unfair burden on our smaller communities. Transfund has received additional funding due to growth in the economy but this isn’t being transferred to local government,” says Murray Anderson, Mayor of Ashburton District Council.

“Major shifts in rural land use and additional productivity has significantly increased heavy traffic on provincial and rural roads and local authorities are required to renew these roads with stronger pavements to cope with heavy loads.”

While the local government sector appreciates there has been significant additional funding from central government for new capital works, these initiatives have not provided support to the ongoing maintenance of the existing roads.

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