Monday, 17 July 2023 16:55

National announces new roading policy

Written by  Staff Reporters
National Party transport spokesperson Simeon Brown. National Party transport spokesperson Simeon Brown.

The National Party has announced it will establish a Pothole Repair Fund to urgently address the state of local roads and state highways.

National’s transport spokesperson Simeon Brown says the policy will see a number of measures introduced to tackle the issue. These include:

  • A $500m fund to be established for state highway and local roading repairs
  • A new directive to New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to double the current rate of roading renewals
  • Halve the standard response rate for pothole repair from 48 to 24 hours

“In 2022, over 54,000 potholes needed repair on State Highways around New Zealand, the highest number in ten years,” says Brown.

“Potholes are a safety hazard and have been causing significant damage and disruption to freight and motorists all over the country.”

Brown says the cost of the fund will be met by reprioritising spending within the National Land Transport Programme, including a reduction in expenditure on activities which he says unnecessarily slow traffic down such as speed limit reductions, speed bump installation and the Road to Zero advertising campaign. The funding from those programmes, he says, would go towards the road repair programme.

“National will also introduce new rules for pothole repair on State Highways, including halving the standard response time for pothole repair from 48 to 24 hours, and introducing a requirement for NZTA to undertake renewal and rehabilitation work on at least 2% of the roading network each year, more than double the current rate,” he says.

The National Party policy has already gained the support of the National Road Carriers Association (NRC), which represents truckers across the country.

“Potholes are a continual hazard for road freight deliveries as well as the general public – we’ve seen record numbers of them, and a clear priority to address them is well overdue,” says NRC chief executive Justin Tighe-Umbers.

Tighe-Umbers says NZTA has been stretched and asked to complete everything from modal shift to public transport, rail, emissions reduction, and the Road to Zero campaign, all without the extra budget or people necessary to carry out the changes.

“As a result, the focus on getting the basics right – road maintenance – has clearly slipped,” he says. “The National Party’s policy gives clear direction to NZTA to focus on the table stakes essential for drivable roads.

“It is critical that we not only keep up with the two per cent run rate needed each year to replace the roading asset, but that we actually do more to recover the decades we’ve been falling behind.”

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