Frank Mueller is very happy top call Kaitaia home. It's a nice little town, he says — it's just a shame that the unsealed stretch of Quarry Rd, between the airport and Donald Rd, is "horrendous."
Speeding cars and flying gravel were annoying, he said — "Never mind the constant fear that speeding cars and loose gravel will equal some sort of horrific accident" — but the dust had become a health hazard.
"We are not the only household here that is concerned, but no one at the Far North District Council cares about the health of the people who live on busy gravel roads," Mr Mueller said.
"This topic could be an interesting point for the next election, couldn't it, dear John C?"
He had moved to Quarry Rd in 2014, and was initially very happy there, until he realised how busy the road was, and how dangerous and unhealthy it was for those who chose to live there.
"It affects eight houses," he said.
"Our families have to breathe clouds of unhealthy dust every day, which is a major health risk. It burns so badly in the eyes too.
"Our water is also contaminated, because the dust is sitting on the rooftops and is washed into the water tanks every time it rains.
"I have written several letters to different agencies to explain this situation, but nothing happens. No one cares."
The Northland Age has asked the council for the road's place on its dust matrix, but the information has not yet been received. However, the criteria used to prioritise roads include health (where the standard for PM10 is exceeded one metre from a house), the number of occupied dwellings (such as homes, milking sheds and pack houses), access to public facilities, the deposition of dust, total suspended particles, traffic volume (and the number/percentage of heavy vehicles), the duration (over months or years) and seasonality of the problem.
A key criterion for NZTA funding is heavy used by logging traffic.