Marlborough District Council was informed last week that due to funding cuts nationally, the money available from Waka Kotahi NZTA to fund the Marlborough road maintenance programme has been reduced by $5.1m over the next three years.
A new Marlborough Network Outcomes Contract (NOC) started in April 2020 and is worth $160m over seven years, covering state highways and the Council’s local roads network and footpaths. It’s jointly funded by Waka Kotahi NZTA and the Council.
Chairman of the Regional Transport Committee Councillor Francis Maher said it was a difficult message to hear.
“Last year Council agreed to fund the Marlborough Roads network operating contract with new joint venture partners and we allocated a 40 per cent increase in funding compared to the previous contract. This meant our planned programme of works for road maintenance across the region was greater, with higher levels of service and a focus on improving maintenance for Marlborough Sounds’ roads, amongst other initiatives.”
“The funding cut announced by Waka Kotahi NZTA means we won’t be able to make as much progress as we had hoped over the next three years. To maintain standards the Council will have to increase its share of total funding. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
“Road maintenance is like maintaining a house – if you keep up the painting on a regular basis, you won’t have major problems. A cut like this undermines that regular maintenance programme and means we’ll have to find more money to play catch up,” Councillor Maher said.