Stratford may be hit by special roading reduction

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014

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Stratford ratepayers could be left with a bill to pay if funding cuts are made for the maintenance of two significant Taranaki roads.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is reviewing its funding assistance rate for special purpose roads. The agency fully funds Stratford's two special purpose roads which provide access to the Egmont National Park.

Manaia Rd leads to Dawson Falls and Pembroke Rd goes to the Stratford Mountain House and on to the Stratford Plateau.

The NZTA review recommends the funding change to a 52 per cent contribution, which would leave council with a yearly bill of about $62,400 to maintain both roads.

Council manager Sven Hanne said this represented an approximate rate rise of about 1 per cent.

In a report tabled by Mr Hanne at Tuesday's council meeting, bigger metropolitan areas like Auckland were set to get increased funding should proposed changes go through.

Other proposed changes include overall funding from NZTA for Stratford's general roading activities likely falling to between 49 to 52 per cent, at least a 2 per cent decrease from the current contribution of 54 per cent.

Mayor Neil Volzke said the move would have a definite impact on the district.

"Whichever way you look at that, it's a net loss on income for the council and will impact on ratepayers," he said.

He said although changes mooted in the review would impact on other Taranaki councils, the decrease in funding for special purpose roads would be significant for Stratford.

"It's one impact that is kind of unique to us," Mr Volzke said.

Councillor Robin Vickers voiced his concern about this potential shift.

"That could be a massive change of funds from rural to urban," he said.

This was echoed by councillor Kelvin Squires who said the wealth generated in Taranaki should not be channelled to fund "better roads" in Auckland.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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