Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepts not enough has been spent on road maintenance in Northland in the past and has asked for a list of the worst stretches of state highway to check with Waka Kotahi why they're so bad.
Ardern also said there were some "large scale projects by the previous government that have come at the expense of local roading", in the region.
She made the comments at the Kerikeri airport yesterday, while waiting for her flight after spending the day in the Far North with Northland MP Willow-Jean Prime, visiting the Far North Solar Farm and a Healthy Homes initiative in Awanui.
Ardern turned the first sod to mark the start of construction of the farm, the biggest solar power station in New Zealand being constructed in Pukenui on the Aupōuri Peninsula.
When asked what she thought of Northland roads while driving around yesterday, she said they reminded her of where she grew up in Morrinsville and Murupara.
"In some ways, the roading conditions here and the geographical considerations remind me of where I grew up where you've got the difficulty of a swamp-like environment, so you're constantly battling against the geographical issues.
"That's writ large here, it does require ongoing maintenance and work."
However, Ardern said the Government was putting "record levels" of funding into local road maintenance.
Over the past funding allocation $4 billion was put into maintenance via the National Land Transport Programme, and over the next three years this will increase to $4.6b, she said.
"When we came into office it was our view not enough was being spent on local road maintenance and the focus on the roads of national significance was at the expense of that local road maintenance.
"When it comes to this area, whether it's across the Far North District or Whangarei District or both cases, Waka Kotahi intend to spend more in the next three-year period than we've spent in the last three years."
However, Waka Kotahi recently reduced funding for road maintenance in the Far North.
The Far North District Council received just $88 million of the $105m it applied for from the government's roading agency to maintain the district's roads for the 2021-24 period.
This prompted Far North deputy mayor Ann Court to say people may die or be seriously injured on Far North roads as government funding fails to keep pace with soaring road maintenance costs.
Ardern said it's "not correct" to say the council received a cut.
"Every council puts in their bid ... it's not that they received a cut, they received more than they did in the last period. But what they might be pointing out is relative to what they were seeking."
Ardern said the previous government had focused on larger-scale projects, "that came at the expense of local roading".
"But now we're looking at 7000 lane kms of maintenance work that Waka Kotahi will undertake over the next three-year period.
In Northland, 574 lane kms would be done. "That's absolutely necessary as well."
When asked why Northland residents and businesses, AA Northland District Council and former roading contractors say the state highway is the worst they've ever seen it, with large patches of chip seal missing, and slumping, Ardern said she would check with the national roading agency to get feedback on certain stretches of road.
This included the Moerewa township where the chip has lifted along the entire stretch of road on both sides.
In April the AA started a campaign to revitalise road maintenance across the country, starting in Northland. It says at least $60m-70m is needed in Northland just to clear essential maintenance work.
Ardern said she recognised the overall neglect of the provinces, but that the provincial growth fund had provided Northland with the lion's share of infrastructure projects.
"Right from the beginning this was the case, we could see it and feel it as we travelled around the country.
"We have made some big decisions that have led to significant change in the way of opportunities in central government support that create employment opportunities and benefits.
"There are challenges in Northland but it has incredibly strong communities."