The negotiating team of Waikato mayors today held a productive meeting with the Ministers of Finance and Transport about transport funding for the region – and are hopeful of a positive resolution to the region’s needs following this year's Budget.
The Joint Officials Group (JOG) negotiating team of four regional mayors – Jenni Vernon (Environment Waikato), Philippa Barriball (Thames-Coromandel), Michael Redman (Hamilton) and Clayton Stent (Taupo) – said that the Ministers listened sympathetically to the Waikato case for extra transport funding.
The JOG team explained that the Waikato region needed more funding, because it acts as a key strategic corridor. While the Waikato region has 10 per cent of the nation's population, it has 16 per cent of the state highway network – and yet carries 20 per cent of the nation's heavy transport demands.
These factors combined to contribute to the Waikato's unenviable reputation as having the highest fatal accident rate in New Zealand – 20 per cent higher than any other region.
The JOG negotiating team told the Ministers that the Waikato region was seeking the maximum funding package. Details of this package are still under negotiation.
The Ministers indicated that an announcement of a specific Waikato package would be released following the Budget in May.
In the meantime, the JOG negotiating team will continue to negotiate on details with Land Transport New Zealand and Ministry of Transport representatives.