News & Events
Southland District Mayor criticises justification of cuts to road fundingWednesday, 23 May 2012
Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno said that Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee's use of the draft Road Maintenance Task Force Report as a justification for recent roading cuts is a divergence from the report's purpose of identifying efficiencies in roading.
The Road Maintenance Task Force Report has recently been released as a draft document with the aim of identifying opportunities for efficiencies in the delivery of operations, road maintenance and renewals. The main findings of the report centre around adapting business models, better procurement practices and improved prioritisation of investment, leadership and advanced asset management.
"Minister Brownlee is unfortunately using that document to justify his recent roading cuts which deviates from the document's original purpose," Mrs Cardno said. "The flatlining of maintenance money is of major concern to Southland District Council. The constant erosion of this money will lead to reduced levels of service and in the long-term a greater cost to both central government and ratepayers."
Mrs Cardno said that Southland District Council has spent time and money developing an Asset Management Plan which will ensure that the integrity of the roading network is maintained for the economic development, not only of Southland, but for the whole country. The cost of roading work continues to increase at an average inflationary rate of 3.5% per year and even with the flatlining of funding in place, this will equate to an 11% decrease in available funds for roading works over the next three years.
"Southland District Council is already deploying a number of the report's recommendations and is exploring issues such as opportunities around clustering in order to improve the efficiency of the roading spend," Mrs Cardno said.
Council believes that the current Government Policy Statement on Transport is driving inappropriate behaviours in the management of the nation's roading network by creating inflexible funding categories and funding caps for maintenance and renewals. The Government Policy Statement also has the potential to undermine the efficiency gains from the Road Maintenance Task Force's valuable work.
The findings in the Task Force Report have identified further opportunities that Council is planning to pursue. However, Council believes that planning a reduction in road funding for maintenance and renewals without sound asset management could end up costly to everyone. The funding caps and continued determination to progress the roads of national significance has undermined the ability for NZTA to fund local roads and state highways.
"The main reason for the funding reduction, I believe, is the government's desire to push ahead with the roads of national significance. These roads do not have a benefit cost and would not have become part of the roading programme without political interference," Mrs Cardno said.
Mrs Cardno added that it is important for the Minister and the Ministry of Transport to relook at these roads, not only in light of the maintenance cuts, but also in the context of the investment required to bring Christchurch roads back to an appropriate standard after the earthquakes.
"The Road Maintenance Task Force Report is welcomed but the government should not use it to the detriment of our rural roads. After all, we are the economic powerhouse of the country," she said.
Who to contact
If you would like to discuss a matter on this page, feel free to contact us:
Southland District Council
P.O. Box 903
Phone: 0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329