3 Dec 2023

'Pretty over it' - Repeated SH2 closures disrupt food supply transport

5:34 pm on 3 December 2023
Leaderbrand chief executive Richard Burke

Richard Burke of Leaderbrand. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The chief executive of vegetable supplier Leaderbrand wants a long-term fix to State Highway 2 between Wairoa and Napier.

Part of it is closed again today due to a slip between Putorino and Kotemaori, north of Waikare Road intersection.

The road will be closed overnight.

Richard Burke said with no diversions available, the company has no choice but to re-route its trucks from Gisborne to Rotorua before heading south to the Cook Strait ferries.

He said a longer-term more resilient solution is needed that is not just fixing the existing road which keeps being closed.

Burke said although its trucks have to go the long way, the ferry timetable to cross the Cook Strait does not change.

"There'll be a fair bit of disruption tomorrow while the guys try and play catch up and swing things around.

"But to be fair, we've been doing this for the last 12 months so it seems like it's a normal daily event - which is kind of bad for us, because we're good at it, as we have to do it often.

"There's no question the guys are kind of, I mean to be fair, pretty over it."

Burke said Leaderbrand is absorbing the extra costs and not putting its prices up.

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