The Kaipara community, local iwi and the district council are beyond disappointed the Government U-turned on a roading project to reseal a section of dangerous gravel road.
In 2019 the Government announced $8.2 million to reseal 21km of Pouto Rd - one of Kaipara's most significant road sealing projects – but earlier this year decided to "reprioritise" $3m for stage 2 of the project.
To say iwi and the community are disappointed "is an understatement", Pouto Waikaretu Marae chairwoman Debroah Nathan said.
"We are disappointed because isolation is an issue for a lot of residents in the Pouto area. The state of the road for the last five years has been really unsafe which has contributed immensely to the wear and tear on their vehicles.
"We have old people that travel daily on these roads - disappointment would be an understatement in regards to the decision not to fund the second phase of sealing.
"Things like sharing the roads with logging trucks, it highlights the added risk and stresses that people from a small isolated community have to endure on a daily basis."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $20.39m investment from the PGF to strengthen the district's transport infrastructure and food and horticulture sector at the Otamatea Marae in February 2019.
At the time she said reliable transport infrastructure was crucial to Northland's economic success, and "strengthening transport links is critical to fully unlocking the potential of the North".
The first section adds 10km onto the southern end of the roughly 39km of already-sealed Dargaville to Pouto road and is expected to be completed by December.
Work to seal the remaining 11km, from Ari Ari Rd to Pouto Point, was expected to start in September.
This has now been scrapped.
Had it been completed, the full length of the peninsula road would have been sealed.
Kaipara District Mayor Dr Jason Smith said the council was "extremely disappointed and we know the community will be very disappointed".
"When the Prime Minister announced the funding for the sealing of Pouto Rd, there was dancing in the aisles at the marae.
"The gravel road is dangerous and it's a very long distance so to maintain it is expensive.
"To seal the road would significantly improve safety, social and economic wellbeing, and the general prosperity of a huge part of the Kaipara district."
Act MP Mark Cameron said the Government needs to "front up and tell Northlanders why this decision was made."
"Northland has always fallen victim to being the poor cousin when it comes to funding.
"The Government has asserted massive infrastructure is needed around the country. Why are we talking about a $685m walk and cycleway across the Waitematā harbour yet we've got roads in Northland with high mortality rates.
"We've got communities that have got metal roads, which in certain conditions are almost inaccessible. It's a travesty."
Cameron, a Ruawai farmer, raised the issue on the back of the Act Party's Honest Conversations nationwide tour which stopped off at the Bay of Islands Golf Club on July 27.
He, Act leader David Seymour and Act MP Karen Chhour also attended a public meeting at the Dargaville Museum on July 28.
Seymour has raised the roading issue in Parliament written questions addressed to Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash regularly since May.
In June Nash said Kaipara council was "verbally informed on April 14, 2021 that the $3m funding originally earmarked for Stage 2 of the Pouto Rd project was being reprioritised".
Smith said the council received written confirmation the funding had been withdrawn about 10 days ago.
Before that, there were suggestions it could be likely, but the council has received "mixed messages" from the Government as to whether it was going ahead or not, he said.