Severe weather causes budget headache for Waka Kotahi

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 26, 2022

Waka Kotahi is facing a budget blowout amid more frequent weather events that are putting pressure on its emergency works fund.

The transport agency told Minister of Transport Michael Wood it expected to exceed its local road emergency budget.

The budget for 2021-2024 is $210 million, with $85 million allocated for the first year, $65 million for the second and $60 million for the third.

The agency said there was a “very high probability” of not only exceeding the 2021/22 allocation, but the entire provision up until 2024.

Waka Kotahi is only in its first year of the National Land Transport Programme, with 80% of the three-year funding allocation already spent.

“We consider there is a very high probability of exceeding the 2021/22 portion of the 2021-24 NLTP’s provision for local road emergency works funding, and a very high probability of exceeding the whole 2021-24 NLTP provision for local road emergency works funding by the end of year three, if not during year two,” the agency said.

“The flatlining of maintenance funding in the last decade also reduced the amount that could be allocated to preventative maintenance, meaning weather events on the network have had a greater impact in some areas.

“We continue to see ‘compound’ events, such as repeated heavy rain on already saturated ground, combined with tidal surges etc which cause a number of large slips, dropouts, bridge/culvert failures and damage to seawalls.

“These types of events will often impact a large geographic area and involve multiple sites, resulting in longer and more complex reinstatement and recovery phases, higher costs and reduced resilience to future events.”