Move focus from forestry: Haisman

Horticulture, livestock use roads too.

Horticulture, livestock use roads too.

Cr Haisman says the focus needs to broaden from logging to include the horticulture and livestock industries, which he says are probably bigger than logging. Gisborne Herald file picture

A CHANGE of direction in the way money is allocated to the district’s roads could be needed, with more focus on industries other than forestry, says regional transport committee chairman Roger Haisman.

His comments came after the committee received a presentation from the Ministry of Transport on how the Government’s 2018 policy statement for land transport (the GPS) was being prepared.

Mr Haisman said there had been a high concentration on logging trucks. They had basically captured the dollars because they had to get to the port. There was nothing wrong with that but there was also another freight system that needed attention — the export of goods out of the district.

That included the horticulture and livestock industries, which were probably bigger than logging.

“People might not agree with me but they are big, and they are high-value loads. All that product has to go out of the district,” he said.

“We have been concentrating for probably the last 10 years on getting in to the port, which was connected to a single industry — forestry.”

It might now be time to concentrate on other freight that was produced here but had to go to markets in Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland.

The horticulture industry was about to expand, he said. At a property near where he lived, 10 acres had gone into apples.

“All that stuff has to go out to the south or the north, and it won’t be going through the port.”

Low-value freight

These loads had a value of tens of thousands of dollars as against a logging truck, with 40 tonnes, which was a low-value freight. The committee had to make sure they were catered for.

Areas such as the Waioeka Gorge needed to be looked at. It was not administered from this district but there were real problems when it was closed.

Further south there was the potential for a bottleneck in the Tutira, Devil’s Elbow area.

These things needed to be brought into the GPS equation to shift the balance a bit away from a single industry like logging.

Bill Burdett said it was a matter of improving roads. He was talking particularly about State Highway 35 on the East Coast, which was a back-up if the gorge went out of action.

While he was on the council, the gorge had been closed on a number of occasions. Suddenly there were hundreds of extra trucks coming around the Coast on top of the existing logging traffic, stock and metal trucks.

“The road itself has not had the investment in it I believe it should have for the amount of revenue that comes from the forests up there,” he said.

Pat Seymour said the state highways were the district’s two feeder roads but investment was also needed in local roads if produce was going to get to the city. People were not expecting those roads to be tar-sealed but they had to be up to standard.

Government focusing on economic growth

Allan Hall said the GPS was meant to put an emphasis on wealth-generating capacity and the Government was focusing on economic growth. The regions, in his view, were the economic growth areas. The GPS needed to reflect that.

Larry Foster said coastal shipping was an option the port was looking at seriously. There was a lot of talk about smaller ships with mini-containers bringing produce out of the regions.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said it would be good to get some direction on the future of the Gisborne-Napier rail line for which there was passionate support. If that was known, it would be possible to move on with tourism ventures and other uses for the line.

Hilton Collier said one of his main concerns was what a measure of wealth was. There were plenty of ways to calculate it but they would not necessarily translate to a community level where there were measurable benefits.

This was a region with all sorts of negative social indices. Why would people take the risk of sending produce overseas? It was less risky to send stock to Hawke’s Bay to be finished.

Until they got their heads around the specific outcomes they wanted for the region, the definition of wealth would limit them to dancing to someone else’s tune.

A CHANGE of direction in the way money is allocated to the district’s roads could be needed, with more focus on industries other than forestry, says regional transport committee chairman Roger Haisman.

His comments came after the committee received a presentation from the Ministry of Transport on how the Government’s 2018 policy statement for land transport (the GPS) was being prepared.

Mr Haisman said there had been a high concentration on logging trucks. They had basically captured the dollars because they had to get to the port. There was nothing wrong with that but there was also another freight system that needed attention — the export of goods out of the district.

That included the horticulture and livestock industries, which were probably bigger than logging.

“People might not agree with me but they are big, and they are high-value loads. All that product has to go out of the district,” he said.

“We have been concentrating for probably the last 10 years on getting in to the port, which was connected to a single industry — forestry.”

It might now be time to concentrate on other freight that was produced here but had to go to markets in Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland.

The horticulture industry was about to expand, he said. At a property near where he lived, 10 acres had gone into apples.

“All that stuff has to go out to the south or the north, and it won’t be going through the port.”

Low-value freight

These loads had a value of tens of thousands of dollars as against a logging truck, with 40 tonnes, which was a low-value freight. The committee had to make sure they were catered for.

Areas such as the Waioeka Gorge needed to be looked at. It was not administered from this district but there were real problems when it was closed.

Further south there was the potential for a bottleneck in the Tutira, Devil’s Elbow area.

These things needed to be brought into the GPS equation to shift the balance a bit away from a single industry like logging.

Bill Burdett said it was a matter of improving roads. He was talking particularly about State Highway 35 on the East Coast, which was a back-up if the gorge went out of action.

While he was on the council, the gorge had been closed on a number of occasions. Suddenly there were hundreds of extra trucks coming around the Coast on top of the existing logging traffic, stock and metal trucks.

“The road itself has not had the investment in it I believe it should have for the amount of revenue that comes from the forests up there,” he said.

Pat Seymour said the state highways were the district’s two feeder roads but investment was also needed in local roads if produce was going to get to the city. People were not expecting those roads to be tar-sealed but they had to be up to standard.

Government focusing on economic growth

Allan Hall said the GPS was meant to put an emphasis on wealth-generating capacity and the Government was focusing on economic growth. The regions, in his view, were the economic growth areas. The GPS needed to reflect that.

Larry Foster said coastal shipping was an option the port was looking at seriously. There was a lot of talk about smaller ships with mini-containers bringing produce out of the regions.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said it would be good to get some direction on the future of the Gisborne-Napier rail line for which there was passionate support. If that was known, it would be possible to move on with tourism ventures and other uses for the line.

Hilton Collier said one of his main concerns was what a measure of wealth was. There were plenty of ways to calculate it but they would not necessarily translate to a community level where there were measurable benefits.

This was a region with all sorts of negative social indices. Why would people take the risk of sending produce overseas? It was less risky to send stock to Hawke’s Bay to be finished.

Until they got their heads around the specific outcomes they wanted for the region, the definition of wealth would limit them to dancing to someone else’s tune.

Tributes were paid to Roger Haisman, the chairman of the regional transport committee for the past three years, who is not seeking re-election and was attending his last meeting.
Bill Burdett said Mr Haisman had an exploring mind and had been a more-than-adequate chairman.
It was appropriate that a contract was about to be let for the Motu Bridge for which he had worked towards for many years.
Mr Haisman said as a rural councillor, roading was important to him.
“We are making progress,” he said.

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