Thursday, July 18, 2024

Waka Kotahi process ‘a sham’ says Hasting Mayor

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst has slammed the response to an Official Information Act request on Waka Kotahi’s processes which led to its decision to drop the speed limit on State Highway 5 (Napier-Taupo), saying critical work was not carried out by the agency.

The response from Waka Kotahi showed no economic or social impact analysis was carried out, and there had been no analysis of the effectiveness of recent remedial works and the Police’s ‘Stay Alive on 5’ education programme, the Mayor said.

Since the remedial work and education had been in force, there had been no fatal crashes along the route, she said.

“Waka Kotahi has four pillars that it says it relies on when setting road speeds: Safety, Connectivity, Efficiency and Sustainability,” Mrs Hazlehurst said.

“The information provided today shows that up as a sham; they have given absolutely no thought to connectivity, efficiency or sustainability.

“Given this supposed highway is the strategic road corridor between our region and the northern areas of New Zealand, I am very angry that Waka Kotahi has applied no strategic thinking or analysis to the effect their decision will have.”

In the covering statement on the OIA response, Waka Kotahi says it is not required to carry out specific analysis of the safety benefits vs the economic cost for a given road corridor.

“This beggars belief! What is the point of including these matters in its ‘pillars’ if they are not required,” the Mayor said.

“I expected to see evidence and analysis specific to our State Highway 5 and our communities that justifies the significant decision Waka Kotahi has made in our region.”

Mrs Hazlehurst said the region’s councils and the community fully support safer roads with appropriate speeds, but also want to see a focus on bringing the highway up to a standard that meets the needs of today.

“A renewal and improvement programme that addresses decades of underinvestment, including timelines and funding, and a maintenance schedule that will ensure we don’t get this mess again.”

Mrs Hazlehurst said the Hawke’s Bay Regional Transport Committee, which includes representation from all of the region’s councils, will meet as soon as possible to consider “what action is to be taken”.

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