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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Flyover Over: NZTA Not Appealing Flyover Decision

The NZ Transport Agency has decided not to appeal the High Court’s Basin Bridge decision, and says the High Court’s findings provide valuable clarity to help guide the development of future infrastructure projects throughout the country. More>>

ALSO:

Developing Crown Land: Government, Auckland Iwi Reach Agreement

The government has reached agreement with Ngati Whatua and other Auckland iwi over developing 500 hectares of excess land in Auckland for private housing which had been under High Court challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Maurice Williamson

Maurice Williamson seems to have been granted an annual licence to embarrass the National Party, and its that time of year again. Also as per usual, Williamson’s recent exercise in sexism and homophobia has passed by with barely a murmur from his leader. More>>

ALSO:

Green Climate Plan: Shaw Launches 40% Emission Cut Target

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has announced an emissions target initiative for 40% reduction by 2030. He said agriculture has to long been used as a reason for inaction, a roadblock to action... He proposed a tax of 8 cents per kilo of milk. More>>

ALSO:


Images & Video: Four Alternative Flags For Referendum

Flag Consideration Panel chair, Professor John Burrows, said the Panel’s decision had been guided first and foremost by the results of its engagement programme across a range of communities where thousands of Kiwis shared what was special about New Zealand, as well as the Panel’s own selection criteria. More>>

ALSO:

Transport Report: LGNZ Calls For Proactive Approach To Mobilise Regions

LGNZ has today released Mobilising the Regions, its major transport study, which highlights the economic and social impact of strategic transport decisions nationally and in the regions, and the direct link between regional development, national prosperity, social well-being and cohesiveness. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: New Rules Bring Double-Deckers To Our Cities

New rules that allow buses, including double-deckers, to carry more people will ramp up the public transport offering in our cities, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss say. More>>

ALSO:

Cycling:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news