Friday, May 24, 2024

Canterbury leaders concerned with potential lack of funding for region

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum and the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee say they are concerned with a potential lack of funding proposed for Canterbury in the Draft 2024 Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.

Chair of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, Nigel Bowen and Chair of the Regional Transport Committee, Peter Scott say that while they support the overall direction of the Draft GPS – in particular the inclusion of two significant road projects for Canterbury – the funding available nationally does not adequately reflect the needs of the region.

“We’re pleased the draft GPS includes the Christchurch Northern Link, which includes the Woodend Bypass, and a second Ashburton Bridge, both of these projects will increase safety, increase access and provide economic benefits to the region and national economy,” said Mayor Bowen.

“However, when compared with population and GDP, we consider the overall funding increase available for Canterbury in the draft GPS to be inadequate.”

Both representative bodies say the Canterbury region represents approximately 12% of New Zealand by population, but 13% of national gross domestic product, and over 16% of the national roading network by length.

For the 2021-24 period, Canterbury received between 5-8% of forecast NLTP expenditure – a figure Mayor Bowen and Chair Scott would like to see doubled in the 2024-27 period.

“Furthermore, from what has been proposed, it looks like there will be a drop-off in funding after three years, and we remain deeply concerned about the medium to long-term land transport funding situation in New Zealand,” Mayor Bowen says.

Chair Scott said the GPS was an important piece of legislation that informed the Regional Land Transport Plan for Canterbury, however it could change with a new government.

“It’s important to get the GPS right so that it reflects our long-term vision for the region and supports important projects that we need to get off the ground,” he said.

“We feel that a number of important projects and outcomes for the Canterbury community have been overlooked, and even with substantial additional crown funding, there’s still not enough to support our ongoing aspirations and needs.”

Both agreed that the Future of the Transport Revenue System review needed to be progressed with urgency, in time for the 2027-30 National Land Transport Programme period, to support the region’s legislative planning obligations.

“The decisions of the GPS will impact our ratepayers, so it’s important that we have clear direction – and fast – so that we can engage with the community as soon as possible,” Chair Scott said. 

The Canterbury Regional Transport Committee is comprised of one representative from each of the Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) in the Canterbury Region, plus two regional Councillors and Waka Kotahi, while the Canterbury Mayoral Forum comprises the Mayors of ten Canterbury territorial local authorities, and the Chair of the Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury), and supported by all Chief Executives.

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