Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


NZ Transport Agency Lowers Ruapehu’s Road Subsidy

NZ Transport Agency Lowers Ruapehu’s Road Subsidy

Maintaining and developing Ruapehu’s local road network will be a lot more challenging following a probable reduction in its Funding Assistance Rate (FAR) by the NZ Transport Authority’s (NZTA).

The NZTA has been undertaking a comprehensive review of their FAR model that determines the subsidy level councils receive on any particular type of road works has been the cause of widespread concern amongst many rural territorial authorities.

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) Chief Executive, Peter Till, said that RDC had urged the NZTA to take into account value in terms of the export driven Gross Domestic Production (GDP) produced by rural communities when making road investment decisions.

“Ruapehu currently district accounts for $321 million* in primary value for forestry, meat and dairy alone excluding any value added processing or tourism returns with only 0.03% of NZ’s population *(BERL economic data),” he said.

“The key to Ruapehu making an even bigger contribution to the NZ economy is in opening up the productive potential of our primary producers, forestry and tourism sectors which are all dependent on having access to an efficient and effective road network.”

“The NZTA seems to have rejected this thinking which is especially difficult to reconcile given that the Government’s own Policy Statement states that ‘Economic growth and productivity is the primary objective for land transport expenditure’.”

Mr Till said that the new FAR model works on one subsidy level being applicable across all a council’s roading activities including maintenance, operations, renewals, emergency works and Special Purpose Roads.

“NZTA has set the new base rate for Ruapehu at 63% for the coming 2014/15 down from a current overall effective base FAR of 66%.”

“The 63% FAR is a ‘starting point’ and going forward RDC will be engaged in discussions with the NZTA to settle a final FAR rate that will be transitioned in over the next nine years,” he said.

“Other major changes impact on funding for Emergency Works and Special Purpose Roads such as the Mt Ruapehu access roads to Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields.

“These were both significant points in RDC’s submission to the FAR Review consultation.”

Mr Till noted that setting the Emergency Works subsidy at the same level as the normal roadwork subsidy and not giving any consideration to a district’s unique geology, topography or weather is a substantive departure from the historic FAR regime that recognised different road networks in different parts of the country have different underlying costs.

“The funding formula for Emergency Works will see Ruapehu ratepayers funding around the first $900,000 of any emergency works at our base rate before being able to take advantage of a higher subsidy rate equal to our base rate plus 20%.”

“The higher ‘base rate plus 20%’ subsidy for emergency works is only applicable to an ‘out of the ordinary short duration event’ that is unusual, or of unusually large magnitude or severity,” he said.

“Ruapehu had been enjoying up to 91% subsidy on Emergency Works.”

“The new lower FAR subsidy could mean that situations such as large slips on remote rural roads may remain unworked on for some time.”

Mr Till added that another significant impact is around Special Purpose Roads where the FAR subsidy for maintenance will drop from 100% to our ordinary FAR level (63%).

“On current expenditure on the Ohakune Mountain Road this would cost Ruapehu ratepayers around an extra $200,000 per annum,” he said.

“Other concerns are around bridge subsidies which will be prioritised and lower minor (road) improvement subsidy rates.”

“With Ruapehu bridges being a long way down the NZTA priority list major bridge repairs may not happen unless ratepayers pay more.”

“The dropping of minor (road) improvement subsidy rates means this work is also less likely to occur.”

“While RDC still has to have discussions with NZTA on some issues the substantive framework of the new FAR model has been set.”

“Ruapehu ratepayers now need to carefully consider the implications and how to best apply the available resources we have going forward.”

“The types of actions RDC and communities may have to consider include; rate rises, closing roads or giving them to farmers to maintain, unsealing of roads, lesser renewal work and have more bridges with weight restrictions.”

“Council will be shortly starting consultation for next year’s Long Term Plan (LTP) 2015/25 with community focus groups.”

“We would encourage ratepayers and other stakeholders to utilise these meetings and the LTP consultation process to discuss these issues with Council.” ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Team Behind Trump's Throne

Forget the Putin factor. Daily, the team of charlatans, bigots and stunningly ignorant crackpots that Trump is appointing to head key federal agencies is just as alarming. These are positions with vast power and budgetary discretion over policies that stand to affect tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Sad! More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news