GPS: The Far North falls short
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Most of us think of GPS as being a way of identifying where we are in geographic terms, giving us the confidence that we are not lost.
For Vision Kerikeri, GPS or Governemt Policy Statement requires that our land transport system "supports economic growth and productivity..." and that "it is resiliant and reliable".
Each time we have a "100 year rainfall" event which in recent times has been quite frequent (and with climate change could become even more frequent) the first thing residents and especially businesses of the Far North are likely to check is whether or not we still have road access to our major markets, health services and inbound goods, especially food.
A regional priority is that "Northland is well connected to Auckland and the rest of New Zealand". However, the roading programme for 2015-2022 shows that almost all State Highway improvements, approved or proposed for funding or “Future Investment Fund projects”, which total $68.4 million, are on SH1 and lie south of Whangarei or its vicinity.
Only Akerama Curves Realignment at $9.3 million is allocated northwards. The effect will be that while Whangarei will be well connected to Auckland, the Far North will remain, as now, poorly connected to Whangarei in adverse events.
If the Far North is to "walk the GPS talk", State Highway 1 (SH1) north of Whangarei needs reclassifying so that greater priority is given to it when road funding priorities are set.
At present SH1 classifications for section of the road in Northland are:
Auckland to Wellsford = "National siginificance"
Wellsford to Whangarei = "Nationally strategic"
From Kawakawa North (the section south gets slightly higher priority due to tourism), SH1 is relegated to the status of a "regional collector".
Vision Kerikeri believes that in order to meet the GPS outlined above, SH1 north of Whangarei needs to be redesignated as being "nationally strategic" and stressed this in it's submission to the Northland Land Transport Committee last year.