Whanganui District councillor Charlie Anderson wants any flood mitigation for Onetere Drive to be treated first and foremost as a roading issue - particularly around access to the airport.

On Tuesday the council voted to investigate stop banks to protect houses on the flood-prone area.

But when the area flooded in June 2015 it also inundated a part of Wikitoria Rd on the way to the airport.

Mr Anderson said a pilot had to wade through water to get to the airport for a organ transfer.

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The road was never officially closed but was impassable to regular vehicles for between two and six hours.

The council voted to review flood protection and access to the airport as part of it's next ten-year plan.

But Mr Anderson wanted more immediate action.

"Here we've got a third world road we can't get an ambulance to the airport," he said.

"There's clearly no will to cooperate here. If there was a will the recommendation would be quite different, I'm sure.

"We've got to keep the road open. It wouldn't be acceptable in any other town."

Councillor Ray Stevens said a story like that was the best way to sell and roading fix to the problem (such as a bridge) to the New Zealand Transport Agency in a bid to attract funding.

"We need this bridge and these are the reasons why," he said.

"We could attract a subsidy. I think we should treat this as a roading issue and slip everything else down."