North's roads are 'little more than country lanes'

By Sandy Myhre

1 comment

Northland's roads are being left to fall apart because of a lack of government funding, Northland MP and NZ First Leader Winston Peters says.

Mr Peters said the district's roads are "little more than country lanes".

In a speech to Paihia and District Ratepayers Association Tourism AGM he questioned whether the collaboration between NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Northland Transportation Alliance, which started on July 1, would improve the current state of roads. He said heavy freight vehicles and logging trucks are making the roads dangerous.

"What is NZTA and Transport Alliance going to do about the disintegrating roads, the huge number of log trucks, and dusty roads affecting the movement of people and products, driver safety and people's health here in Northland," he said.

He advocated more government funding for rural roads which, he said, was removed in 2009 and that rail in Northland be "re-invigorated" which, in turn, would support Marsden Point.

Mr Peters said Paihia and the wider Bay of Islands are the jewels in New Zealand's crown, but beset with problems of straining, ageing and inadequate infrastructure which Far North residents are asked to pay for.

He said the retired population is the largest among local residents and there are numerous seasonal businesses.

"In May the Government announced they would provide $12 million funding over four years for local communities to deal with huge tourism numbers. The reality is that $3 million per year stretched all over New Zealand is going to go almost nowhere."

He questioned why last year's $630 million net surplus from GST on international visitor spending was not diverted to communities such as Paihia.

"Beautiful scenery and climate with a backdrop of history seemingly doesn't pay the bills."

- Northern Advocate

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