By Lauren Crimp of RNZ
Councils in cyclone-hit regions staring down a decade-long roading recovery say they simply cannot afford it.
As footage of crumbling roads, falling slips and battered bridges emerged in the days following Cyclone Gabrielle, it was clear a mammoth effort would be needed to piece the network back together.
But a year on, it has also become clear the associated price tag is too much for ratepayers to bear.
“The burden is enormous,” said Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.
While the Government stumped up $233 million to fix her district’s roads and bridges, Hazlehurst said a $600 million budget hole remained.
“We have to work out how we can deliver, and when we can deliver, and when we will rate for that delivery.
“So that is what we’re working through at the moment, just how we manage that extra burden of $600 million without the support of the Crown.”
Further south, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council said it was $129 million short on its roading bill, on top of the Government’s $36 million contribution. It too was unsure how it would be paid for.
“The district will still require major investment to ensure we have a road network that our communities can rely on,” said chief executive Doug Tate.