Some Western Bay of Plenty residents who pay New Zealand's highest rates are pleading for the chance to have their road tar-sealed.
A collective of Kumikumi Rd residents from the lower Kaimai Range packed the Western Bay of Plenty District Council chambers on Wednesday to present reasons why the 2.25km unsealed road needed attention.
Long-time resident Paul James said the dust from the road was so bad, a child with asthma had to be kept inside and had required medical attention because of it.
James told the council he had lived on the road since he was 2, and it had never been in a suitable state. Over time, and with many truck and car movements, the road had only become worse, he said.
Other issues with the unsealed road included washing being covered in dust, homes forced to use air conditioning in summer because they could not open their windows, dust-contaminated animal feed, and damage to vehicles.
James said residents hoped their financial input from their rates would have some bearing on the council considering their request. The 14 households represented in the presentation pay a combined rates bill of $71,380.40.
A 2018 Ratepayers' Report shows Western Bay residents pay the highest rates in New Zealand - an average of $3192 a year. Auckland comes second on $3136. Tauranga pays $2553.
"We came here in 2011 and did the same presentation. We are still waiting," James said.
"We don't like to moan all the time but it seems we have to moan to get things done to our road just to be able to drive down it somedays it seems."
Councillors were told Kumikumi Rd residents did not receive council wastewater management, water supply, footpaths, kerbing, or public transport other than school buses to the start of the road.
"This might sound like a first-world problem but some of the residents have resided on this road since 1973 and have watched many other unsealed roads much further from the city boundaries with a lot less residents, getting sealed. This seems unfair, especially with our proximity to the fifth-largest city in New Zealand."
Operations and monitoring committee chair Don Thwaites commended the efforts of the residents but said it was unlikely Kumikumi Rd would be sealed soon, as it was not prioritised on the Seal Extension Plan. The plan incorporates traffic movements, resident numbers and importance of all unsealed roads in the region and prioritises them to be sealed.
Council transportation manager Jim Paterson told the Bay of Plenty Times there was 180km of unsealed roads in the district that had had ratepayers also paying their share.
Which roads were sealed and which weren't was up to the Seal Extension Plan, which was a fair way of determining such matters, he said.
"It's a process that treats each road section equally based on demand and land use and traffic demand."