Logging and trucking industries will be asked to cough up cash to help solve a dusty road problem that has had residents up in arms for more than a decade.
Whangarei District Council had allocated $400,000 over the next two years to seal ten 100m strips along the notoriously dusty Wright, McCardle and Pipiwai roads west of Whangarei, though the work was expected to cost $532,000, said WDC roading manager Jeff Devine.
"We will be asking the industry if they can make up the [$132,00] shortfall," he said.
The New Zealand Transport Agency declined a $4.5 million funding request from council early this year for a full 9km seal of Wrights Rd and McCardle Rd
Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group spokeswoman Alex Wright said she was unconvinced that the strip sealing would make a huge amount of difference.
"It's our 11th year now. We're heading in the right direction but need to do it properly and completely."
Mr Devine said he agreed that the dust was a health and safety issue.
"The big issue is that when they shifted the port from Whangarei to Marsden Point the traffic direction changed. It was never planned when the forests were planted that this would be the [trucking] route."
Council would continue approaching central Government for money to seal the remainder of roads, Mr Devine said.
Ken Shirley, chief executive of New Zealand Road Transport Forum, said there was no mechanism for councils to get extra money from the trucking industry and that roads were already funded on a "user pays" basis through road user charges, fuel excise duties and oil motor registrations.
"Our collective [national] membership would already pay close to $1.5 billion in road user charges, which is what local roads are funded by.
"There's no mechanism where you can actually charge, or rather double charge, the road user."
However Far North District Council's manager of transport operations Wil Pille said sections of Diggers Valley Rd, Pipiwai Rd and Piccadilly Rd had been sealed with good faith contributions from the forestry industry - a similar outcome to what WDC hoped for.
"We were able to explain what our issues are and our funding restrictions are. We asked if they were willing to contribute.
"We have no mechanism in place so it's purely voluntary."
The companies had also agreed to voluntary speed restrictions, Mr Pille said.