21 Jan 2023

Waka Kotahi disputes reported number of pothole complaints

8:02 pm on 21 January 2023
Recently repaired potholes in Taranaki.

Recently-repaired potholes at the edge of a road in Taranaki. Photo: Robin Martin

Waka Kotahi is disputing the number of reported pothole complaints it received last year.

Potholes have been at the centre of headlines recently, with people across New Zealand slamming the transport agency for its road maintenance.

The reports suggest Waka Kotahi received 555 complaints about potholes in 2022.

But the agency's general manager of transport services, Deborah Hume, said that figure needed to be corrected.

"Our records show that for 2022, complaints about potholes and road surfaces were very similar to what they were in 2021. We had 206 complaints in 2021 and 207 last year," said Hume.

"The 555 figure being quoted actually relates to compensation claims made for damage across a wide number of categories.

"This includes chip damage to vehicles, private property damage, pothole-related damage, and various other claims."

Waka Kotahi said it accepted the number of complaints had slightly increased, but said it was wrong to describe all of them as pothole complaints.

Following the pothole revelation, ACT said the transport agency had let New Zealanders down.

The 555 pothole complaint figure was originally revealed by ACT, but Waka Kotahi said they processed the information incorrectly.

Hume said it was unfortunate the figures ended up being referenced incorrectly.

"We have moved to correct the record as quickly as we can as it is important the hard work of our contractors and road crews is accurately recognised; 2022 was a very challenging year for them," she said.

"ACT asked us about the road condition complaints and that number was correct, but saying they're all pothole complaints is false."

The number of complaints decreased over the past five years. In 2018 there were 460 complaints and in 2019 there were 502 complaints.

Complaints that claim road condition has caused damage to a vehicle are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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