Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Councils double-dip for forest roading


Councils double-dip for forest roading

An independent report lends weight to claims by forest owners that they are being unfairly singled out by district councils to pay for roading upgrades.

The report by consultants Frame Group, quotes a Waikato Regional Council study which shows that dairy farms generate twice as many truck movements per hectare a year as beef farms and forestry. Sheep farms make the least demand on roading.

The NZ Forest Owners Association commissioned the report because of the conditions local bodies are attaching to resource consents for log harvesting. In many cases, local bodies have required forest owners to contribute large sums toward the costs of road upgrades, even though forest harvesting is a permitted land use under the Resource Management Act.

Association chief executive Rob McLagan says it is of great concern that many councils have spent rates collected from forest owners on other priorities.

“There is too much double-dipping going on. Councils should regard the rates collected while a forest is growing as an advance payment towards the roading services which will be needed only when logs are harvested.

“Over the 30-year productive life of a forest, forest makes little impact on the roading network, and less demand on council services, while still contributing a substantial amount in rating.”

Mr McLagan says councils that cannot plan and budget to maintain their roads should follow the lead of small local bodies like the Banks Peninsula District Council and actively seek to amalgamate with a larger neighbour.

“There are far too many small local authorities which struggle to build a viable rating base and the necessary level of expertise.”

More … Frame 2

He also says local bodies need to be willing to “think outside the square”, when coming up with solutions.

“High-spec road engineering is not always the answer. In fact it is often unnecessary and excessively expensive.”

The report says forest-owners and territorial local authorities (TLAs) need to get together as early as possible to plan future roading needs.

It also makes a number of creative suggestions for reducing the need for major roading upgrades which are often required for only a relatively short log harvest period.

The report says more constructive and cost-effective solutions, that will benefit the whole community, need to be negotiated between councils and forest owners.

Some relatively simple strategies, such as laying slightly stronger pavement when roads are constructed or have a major overhaul, can cut the lifetime maintenance costs, the report says.

When communities work together, there are traffic management options like scheduling logging trucks to avoid ‘rush hours’ that occur before and after school. More use can be made of the radio communications that most logging trucks are equipped with. In one example highlighted in the report, the school bus was given its own radio so it could join the communication about what vehicle was where on a narrow road.

Many of these approaches will benefit the wider community, and other rural road users like milk tankers. Because the roading demands of logging trucks are usually concentrated at one time, and to some extent are manageable by time and weather, there is no need to “over-design” solutions, the report says.

It may cost very little more to provide a suitable road pavement suitable for timber harvesting than it does to provide a properly designed payment for non-forestry needs.

The report details a number of other alternate strategies, from adjustment of axle loading to alteration of tyre pressure through CPI or central inflation, that could make a major difference to road wear if implemented.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Payout As Global Supply Shrinks

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the dairy processor which will announce annual earnings tomorrow, hiked its forecast payout to farmers by 50 cents per kilogram of milk solids as global supply continues to decline, helping prop up dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Results:

Meat Trade: Silver Fern Farms Gets Green Light For Shanghai Maling Deal

The government has given the green light for China's Shanghai Maling Aquarius to acquire half of Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's biggest meat company, with ministers satisfied it will deliver "substantial and identifiable benefit". More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news