A decision to move Kerikeri's coach to the airport 5km out of town looks set to be reversed after a public meeting overwhelmingly rejected the plan.

Last month Far North District councillors voted in principle to shift the bus stop from its Cobham Rd location to Bay of Islands Airport on Wiroa Rd. The airport option was a new proposal tabled at the meeting and not one of three options put forward by staff.

All buses calling in to Kerikeri use a single 18m-long coach stop on Cobham Rd. Until a laundromat fire in 2016 buses used a 27m-long coach stop further down the road.

Since 2016, however, buses have became bigger and more frequent. Shop awnings mean buses can't get close to the kerb and they have to double park to allow passenger transfers, forcing traffic on to the wrong side of the road.


However, councillors' solution of moving the bus stop out of Kerikeri also failed to find favour, mainly due to the distance from the town centre.

Following the outcry the Kerikeri Residents and Ratepayers Association called a public meeting attended by Far North Mayor John Carter, councillors Ann Court and Dave Hookway, and two community board members.

The meeting was also attended by 60 members of the public including retirement village residents, bus drivers and passengers.

Court spoke on behalf of the council to explain the issues with the current bus stop and alternative sites on Cobham Rd, and the reasoning behind the airport proposal.

She said the airport move wouldn't have gone ahead without a feasibility study, consultation, government funding, extra parking and toilets, and a free or subsidised shuttle into town. The mayor and councillors agreed to revisit the decision at their next meeting and temporarily relocate the coach stop outside Kerikeri's Procter Library.

The trial site at the library would have space for two buses, eliminating problems with double parking.

In the meantime council staff would continue to investigate locations for a permanent bus stop, Court said.

All options, including a transport hub at the airport, would be included in the council's draft Integrated Transport Strategy, which will go out consultation in October.


Ratepayers Association secretary Jane Johnston, who facilitated the meeting, said councillors also agreed to examine what else could be done to improve traffic flow in the town.

One of the disadvantages cited for the library location was that buses would have to drive around the town's sometimes congested one-way system, though that did not concern bus drivers at the meeting.

Johnston said the bus stop U-turn and councillors looking for solutions on the fly reflected ''an absence of good forward planning for a growing town centre''.

A council spokesman said relocating the bus stop to the library would relieve pressure on some Cobham Rd businesses and had the backing of St John, which operates an op shop next to the current bus stop, and Fire and Emergency NZ, which has a fire station nearby.

Transport operators were being informed of the move which would take place as soon as possible.