Regional | Budget 2024

Far North mayor wants Budget to fund road improvements in his district

The Far North District Mayor Moko Tepania says he is optimistic, yet realistic, when it comes to the government’s budget announcement next week.

Tepania has long advocated for the repair of roads within his district and the wider Northland area and, with this year’s budget announcement just around the corner, his sights are set on what he would like to see done.

“I’m always going to be naively optimistic but I’m also going to be realistic. I know that there is a lot of mahi that needs doing across Aotearoa but especially so in provincial New Zealand,” he says.

According to the latest updates shown on NZTA’s website, State Highway 1 in Northland is closed along the Mangamuka Gorge, Brynderwyn to Waipu, with road works along Whāngārei to Brynderwyn.

Tepania believes a focus of the budget should be on the rebuild of local infrastructure.

“One of our biggest priorities here, of course, is getting our third world infrastructure back up to scratch and the main one is the 2500km of local roads that our council looks after.”

Help needed ‘in the sticks’

The Far North District Council has estimated $89 million worth of damage has occurred on the local Northland road networks since 2022.

Tepania urges the government to take a look into the provincial areas of the country who experience extraordinary events like those in his region.

“We know that the National Land Transport Fund is not going to have enough money to go around the country. So, I’m hoping that we are going to see some additional funding measures come in to help those of us who live here out in the sticks to get our critical lifelines back up and running.”

In the 2023 budget $71 billion was allocated to new and existing infrastructure projects for the coming five years but Tepania says more needs to be done.

“They’re going to need to put in significant additional funding to see that done and we need that for all 200,000 Northlanders who call this beautiful region home but cannot get in or out.”