Local bodies claim they are doing what they can to dampen down a dust problem which has provoked a rural community to start blocking logging trucks using the local gravel roads.
Residents of Pipiwai and Wrights roads, north-west of Whangarei, demanded action last summer when monitoring showed dust stirred up by the trucks on rough metal roads was exceeding safety standards.
Local councils responded by applying a dust lock product to the gravel roads outside the affected houses, and logging truck operators agreed to slow down, as they went past. But residents say that hasn't worked and this summer the problem has been as bad as ever.
Local dairyfarmer Graeme Wright said the trucks were a serious hazard to other road users as every time one went past, drivers could see nothing until the dust cleared.
His wife, Alex, said Pipiwai people had reached the end of their tolerance for the dust clouds which enveloped their homes, gardens and cowsheds.
Some people in Pipiwai Road say they and their children have constant asthma because of the dust, with resident John Luisi saying he has been diagnosed with a lung infection for the first time in his life.
He was worried the oil-based product to bind the dust that is councils apply to the roads was making the condition worse.
Northland Regional Council's chair Bill Shepherd said steps previously taken to reduce the dust were short term, and the obvious permanent solution, tarsealing, was beyond the councils' reach.
"Tarsealing is expensive and the district councils whose roads these fall into don't have the money to do that sealing," he said.
"There was additional money provided by the Government a few years back to improve the forestry roads but it wasn't sufficient funding to enable them to be tarsealed. It only enabled them to be widened and strengthened to actually cope with the weight of logs that were estimated to go over those roads."
Longer-term evidence was needed before an abatement notice could be issued, Mr Shepherd said.
But Puti Rhind, who lives close to one of the roads, wasn't happy with the council response and said the blockades would continue until councils took the problem seriously.
Northland's former medical officer of Health Jonathan Jarman warned local authorities last year that Pipiwai Road people were being subjected to unsafe levels 0f Pm10's - the very fine, invisible particles that can settle in the lungs and cause respiratory disease.
Local councils responded by applying a dust lock product to the gravel roads outside the affected houses and logging trucks agreed to slow down as they went past.
But residents say that hasn't worked and this summer the problem's as bad as ever.
Last week they staged a blockade - turning away two empty logging trucks trying to head back into the forest.
Local dairy farmer Graeme Wright said the truckies took it well, considering.
Mr Wright said the trucks are also a serious hazard to other road users as every time one goes past drivers could see nothing til the dust cleared.
His wife Alex said Pipiwai people had reached the end of their tolerance for the dust clouds that now enveloped their homes, gardens and cowsheds.
Some people in Pipiwai Road say they and their children have constant asthma because of the dust.
One resident, John Luisi, said he's been diagnosed with a lung infection for the first time in his life .
He worries that the oil-based product to bind the dust that is councils apply to the roads is making things worse.
The Pipiwai Road people say Northland councils have known for years that logging would be cranking up in their communities about now but have done nothing to prepare the roads for it.
The councils say they can't afford to seal the roads and they're doing what they can .
But Puti Rhind, who lives close to the road, said that's not good enough. She said the blockades would continue until councils take the problem seriously.
The residents say it would take about 10 kilometres of seal to end the dust hazard.