Transport Minister Talks Roads and Three Waters in North Canterbury

Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon hosted Minister for Transport and Local Government Hon. Simeon Brown for a meeting in his office on Friday.

They were joined by Waimakariri MP Hon Matt Doocey and Mayor Marie Black from Hurunui and Mayor Craig Mackle from Kaikoura.

Following the great news that the Woodend Bypass would be one of the seven Roads of National Significance to start work in the next three years, the mayors also highlighted to the Minister some other key roading projects in our region.

This included for the Waimakariri District, the Rangiora Eastern Link Rd which would greatly reduce the significant traffic congestion on Southbrook Rd and also the replacement of Skew Bridge.

Mayor Marie and Mayor Craig also raised the need for improvements to the Kaikoura Inland Rd which acts as an alternative to SH1 when that is closed, in particular an upgrade of the Conway River Bridge.

Mayor Dan said it was a very successful meeting.

“It was a great opportunity to outline to the Minister that we are colleagues and great mates across boundaries and having an excellent roading network across North Canterbury benefits all of our districts.”

Mayor Dan said they also discussed with the Minister their support of the government’s proposed Three Waters Reform – Local Water Done Well.

“All three of our councils played a significant role in drafting the alternative Three Waters model that Local Water Done Well is based on so it was a great opportunity to endorse the work the government has done on this. We informed him that our councils have made significant investments in our water infrastructure over the past few years and are in a strong position to move forward.”

Another issue raised was the significant concern councils have about the escalating cost of insurance.

Mayor Dan said they were anticipating higher premiums in preparation for the Long Term Plan this year but were shocked at the scale of the increase.

“This leaves councils all over New Zealand in a vulnerable position – no council would want to be in a situation where we don’t have insurance, but the cost is a significant burden to rate payers.

“I outlined to Minister Brown my desire to see a levy in place for Civil Defence emergencies, similar to that of the EQC model which would mean there is central government funding available should it be needed. This would help alleviate some of the huge costs faced by local authorities in the wake of extreme weather events and natural disasters. This is also something I have raised in meetings with representatives from New Zealand Transport Agency – Waka Kotahi.”

Mayor Dain said the mayors appreciate the relationship they have with the new government.

“A large part of that is down to our councils’ excellent relationship with our Local MP’s Matt Doocey and Stuart Smith.

We look forward to welcoming Minister Brown back to the Waimakariri District again in the near future.”