About $350,000 of roading costs has been saved in the region due to the Waikato Road Asset Technical Accord trial project.
As a result, the nine councils involved in the accord have elected to operate it fulltime to assist better spending decisions and potentially save millions of dollars in roading costs annually.
In it’s first 18 months the Waikato Road Asset Technical Accord trial project has generated about $350,000 in initial savings. Photo: File
Established in 2014, the purpose of the accord was to trial ways of cutting the $160 million a year road maintenance bill faced by participating councils.
Waikato Mayoral Forum’s RATA governance group chair and Hauraki mayor John Tregidga says in its first 18 months the RATA generated the $350k in initial savings.
It is now estimated that between 5 and 10 per cent of total costs could eventually be cut annually through efficiencies gained by the nine councils working together.
“The declared savings to date are really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the confidence being gained that the right investment decisions are being made through co-operation via RATA,” says John.
“This is a great example of what the forum is doing in terms of making further improvements to local government in our region.”
The RATA involves councils sharing knowledge sharing, overcoming skill shortages and working together to improve the management of road maintenance.
John says by establishing it fulltime for the long haul through a more permanent arrangement makes great financial sense if we can drive the sorts of savings being envisaged.
“And the New Zealand Transport Agency, which has previously provided funding for RATA, considers this model to be the national benchmark for best practice, with other regions starting to think along similar lines.”
The RATA unit will be based at Waipa District Council and led full-time by current project director Dawn Inglis.
This unit will provide strategic asset management advice and support to the participating councils via the Waikato Local Authority Shared Services company, says John.
“This will enable better decision-making, the ongoing sharing of learnings and other efficiencies.”
RATA’s initial term will be for two years, with ongoing renewal options after that.
The nine participating councils are the Thames Coromandel, Hauraki, Waikato, Waipa, Otorohanga, Waitomo, South Waikato and Matamata-Piako district councils, plus the Hamilton City Council.