Hurunui cash plea rejected by NZTA

Photo: NZTA
Photo: NZTA
A North Canterbury council’s bid for road funding has been rejected as too costly by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The Hurunui District Council requested to almost double its funding for the next three years, compared to the period 2021/24, says Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency director regional relationships, James Caygill.

He said the council’s funding bid sought an increase of 184 per cent from the 2024/27 National Land Transport Programme.

‘‘This increase was amongst the highest sought nationally.’’

Around the country, councils put in bids totalling $6.5 billion for the 2024/27 period, up 42% on the previous three year period, Mr Caygill said.

‘‘The total bid put forward nationally was unaffordable to the National Land Transport Programme, making it difficult to honour everyone’s bid.’’

Mr Caygill said the agency had approved Hurunui’s request for an increase of nearly 50% in its funding for road resealing, and it ‘‘should be adequate to maintain and renew its network’’.

But at a council meeting on June 25, council chief executive Hamish Dobbie described Waka Kotahi’s response as ‘‘under-whelming’’.

‘‘It is extremely disappointing given the amount of work we put into getting our roading programme together and it looks like they (Waka Kotahi) didn’t even look at it.’’

Waka Kotahi’s overall funding had increased, but Hurunui’s allocation was not enough to fund the upgrades needed to ensure the resilience of the district’s roading network, he said.

But funding for increased resilience works and other improvements were assessed separately under the ‘‘Local Road Improvements Activity Class’’, and funding information had yet to be released.

The council has deferred the adoption of its Long Term Plan until July 15.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.