Should we be taking a user pays approach to activities like forestry roading?

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Council spends 44% of our rate revenue on roads and central government roading subsidies for Gisborne have reduced significantly over the last 10 years.

The massive growth in forestry harvesting is putting extreme pressure on our road network and there is real concern that the maintenance contractors are struggling to keep up. I have estimated, based on the tons shipped per sector, that 70% of the $25M spent on road maintenance is attributable to forestry.

The current differential rating system raises only $1.1M from forestry ratepayers and approximately $7M of road user charges are paid locally by forestry. If a user pays approach was adopted then it could be argued that forestry should be paying another $8 to $9M towards its fair share of maintaining the road network.

A road toll of  $0.30 to $0.50 per kilometer, collected at the port, could be a politically acceptable option.

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GDC Roading Budget over the last nine years (green column is inflation-adjusted 2008 levels)
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