17 Jun 2012

Funding information left out of Cabinet paper

12:25 pm on 17 June 2012

Documents reveal that a table detailing the split between local roads and highway spending was omitted from a Cabinet paper because it did not contain what the then-minister of transport had hoped for.

A Ministry of Transport document written for the government's new transport plan says Steven Joyce requested a table be added to a Cabinet paper showing the total value of local road investment as a percentage of all roading investment.

It says the intention of the minister was to show the split of expenditure between local roads and highways was relatively balanced once the funding share from councils is taken into account.

But the table showed local roads received under 40% of roading money since 2009, despite half of all driving being done on them in the past decade.

As a result, the ministry left the table out, saying investment for each network did not need to be the same.

Radio New Zealand's transport reporter says the ministry then added other information to the Cabinet paper to strengthen the arguments why highways require a higher level of funding.

Local Government New Zealand says the table shows what it already knows.

President Lawrence Yule says the level of funding for local roads is the single biggest issue facing councils right now.

The funding set aside for local roads in the next three years is just not enough.

He is seeking a meeting with the Government to discuss these concerns.