NZ Transport Agency cuts local road subsidy for Porirua as Transmission Gully looms

Transmission Gully running through Cannons Creek - which would leave Porirua to inherit new local roads.

Mark Coote/Supplied Transmission Gully running through Cannons Creek - which would leave Porirua to inherit new local roads.

Porirua will have its roading subsidy cut by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) in a move that has left its mayor shocked and ratepayers facing a hefty bill.

It comes as the city could inherit kilometres of expensive-to-maintain ex-highway after Transmission Gully opens.

The NZTA says the decision was based on its existing formula, including an improvement in the city's deprivation level "relative" to other councils - but Porirua Mayor Anita Baker is not so sure.

Baker said she was shocked by the news the NZTA was cutting its funding from next year.

NZTA The Wainui Saddle is the highest point on the new road and marks the boundary between Porirua City and Kapiti Coast District.

READ MORE:
* Centennial Highway would not be handed over to council under NZTA proposal
* Transmission Gully opening could be pushed back to 2023 - Road Transport Forum boss
* Transmission Gully: After five years and multiple delays, unknowns just keep stacking up

"We've got no good reason for it to go down, we're taking over more [roading] with our link roads and with NZTA chasing us to take over SH58 ...

I was not expecting a decrease."

The NZTA would cut the amount it pays to split costs for work such as road maintenance from 56 per cent over the next three years, down to 52 per cent.

Maintaining the current-SH58 around Whitby, if turned into a local road, would be hugely expensive, with the sea on one side and slip-prone embankments on the other, Baker said.

She said it was unusual for the funding to drop, "I'm pretty shocked that with more of their roads coming in, that they're reducing us".

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker was shocked to find out the city was getting its roading subsidy cut.

Ross Giblin/Stuff Porirua Mayor Anita Baker was shocked to find out the city was getting its roading subsidy cut.

Council chief executive Wendy Walker said the funding was calculated on factors including ratepayer base, deprivation index, and kilometres of roads.

"None of these factors have changed in the last three years, so we are unclear why our ... rate has dropped so dramatically."

Covering the extra cost by the end of period would create a 0.6 per cent average rate increase, or about £400,000 in total, she said. Walker said she understood there were no appeal rights.

"We are assuming the potential revocation of SH58 and funding issues associated with that will be subject to separate negotiations."

The Transmission Gully route through the Wainui Saddle.
/p
pPorirua is concerned about having to maintain ex-highway roads after the new route opens.

Mark Coote/Supplied The Transmission Gully route through the Wainui Saddle. Porirua is concerned about having to maintain ex-highway roads after the new route opens.

The council's own annual report on the status of children and young people, released this month, found increased demand for public housing, more crowding, worsening school attendance and deteriorating oral health in the city.

NZTA director of regional relationships Emma Speight said the latest decisions on funding covering the next three years "recognise the limited funding available" to meet government's spending priorities.

She said the method used to calculate the subsidy rate was based on publicly available, independent information.

In Porirua's case the latest census data showed a relative improvement in its 2018 deprivation index compared to other councils, she said.

This was the main driver of the reduction, she said.

Speight said the amount was also based on the length of the existing roading network, so when the new subsidy was reviewed, the post-Transmission Gully layout would be taken into account.

The NZTA announced last week that Transmission Gully would now open by September next year.

Stuff

You may also like...