Rotorua Arterial Choice Tricky


Rotorua’s Mayor is today calling on the Government to get going on plans for a new arterial route through the eastern part of his city.

Today’s meeting of Rotorua District Council’s Infrastructure Services Committeel selected NZTA’s Option 3 - the so-called ‘Designated Route’ - as its preference for a new eastern arterial to relieve growth and traffic pressures from the existing State Highway 30 along Te Ngae Road.

However the council added a rider to its preference saying that NZTA should also ensure there was suitable mitigation of cultural and geothermal features in the Ngapuna area of the route.

Identification of the Designated Route follows several months spent examining three separate options put forward to the council by NZTA for a new Eastern arterial.

Mayor Kevin Winters said that as one of the key stakeholders in the new route, Rotorua District Council remained right behind the project as it was vital for Rotorua’s future.

However he said choosing one single option had been a difficult task as all three would impact to some extent on people in the area.

“We understand that people will be affected by the development of this important route but we believe the option we’ve identified will have the least impact on people while producing the best results for our community’s future.

“The designation for an arterial route through the eastern part of the city has been in place since the 1960s and a lot of development has taken place around it. While there is already a growing need for improved road access, when we think about planning for growth over a 20 to 50 year timeframe the arterial route makes good sense.”

Mr Winters said he and councillors had lobbied long and hard for progress to be made on the eastern arterial as it was seen as critical for the district’s future economic development, and vital for the safety of Rotorua residents and visitors.

“Congestion on the current route is already holding back approved developments in the eastern part of the city, its causing increased levels of frustration for businesses and residents, and producing unacceptable delays for travellers and freight.”

Mr Winters said that NZTA must now move on at speed with the project to provide some certainty and to reduce some of Rotorua’s constantly growing traffic delays.

“A new improved arterial route across the east of the city is essential for people using Rotorua International Airport, for access to the Port of Tauranga and for timber processing at places like Kawerau. Without it we run the risk of grinding to an economic standstill as well as reaching traffic gridlock.

“This community will be watching NZTA’s moves very closely over coming months and we’ll hold the government to account for ensuring that the project keeps moving forward, and at pace. There’s no room for delay as the economic future of Rotorua and many of our surrounding areas are dependent on this route going ahead without further impediment.

“I urge the government to move decisively, and I make a plea to local MPs of all political persuasion to unite in support of the Rotorua Eastern Arterial proposal.

“Everything within our collective power must be done to ensure this project remains an absolute priority for the government. Our community will not accept anything but ‘full steam ahead’ for the Rotorua Eastern Arterial,” said Mr Winters.





  1. Brent C says:

    Congestion? Do they know what that is in Rotorua?

  2. Anthony says:


    No not really, been on that route several times and it is all good to me…

  3. Chris says:

    I grew up in Rotorua. The Mayor is talking out of a hole in his head. What congestion?? Important for the airport?? That gets one international flight twice a week?? Important to get to the TGA port?? WTF? from where, central Rotorua where there is a whole pine plantation?? Stupid stupid stupid.

  4. damian says:

    Reminds me of a Barcadi ad
    “Oh my god total gridlock” where there is one car on the road

  5. damian says:

    what they do need to do is improve the road between Rotorua airport and the Mt.

  6. KarlHansen says:

    I don’t know the area well enough to comment as more than a throwaway, but it sounds… pathetic.

    Just a local mayor desperate for *anything* to happen in his patch, so since the government is roads-centric, he is happy to be too. Just ignore what his city really needs (which I suspect would be schools, local road maintenance, community facilities… - but Joyce isn’t offering those, despite also being minister for telecoms and education).

  7. damian says:

    To be fair the mayor just wants money to be injected into the local economy for which I understand his point.

  8. KarlHansen says:

    Damian - I consider that a fallacy:

    a) What about the HARM another big roading project causes, is that worth the money too?

    b) Who says the money WILL go into the local economy? Roading jobs go increasingly to large, and often overseas contractors. In fact, the NZ contractor federation (sorry, can’t remember the exact name) has just complained (pretty bitterly for a body which needs government goodwill) that all the midsized and small projects are drying up, because government concentrates on State Highways, and has no money left for local roads.

    c) The “but it brings money here” argument is also faulty because the same money could be used in the same region, for better things - like schools, leaky home fixups, or at least, for better PT or local roads and safety schemes. It’s a classical straw man argument used by politicians as to why they support something that the locals don’t want, and a classical tool for politicians to force locals to “take it or we’ll give it to some other city which isn’t that ungrateful” tactic that big government uses to oppose the wishes of local government.

  9. damian says:


    A) I dont see where any harm is being had if all the issues are correctly dealt with

    B) The Contractors Federation is doing as any other lobby group would do. No different from a pro rail lobby group doing the same. Anyway I am not sure what your point is, it is the smaller contracts that keep the local contractors employed so I can see there point.

    C) Why dont we just give everyone an extra $1000 in the region and then they can spend it on what they want.

    I am afraid you are missing the mayors point completely. He wants money for his region in any shape or form given the state of the economy in his region. As such he will talk up the benefits as much as he can, much like pro PT and Rail users do.

  10. damian says:

    For those that are interested, Lake Road 4 lanning is out to tender. Exp value about $6m

  11. KarlHansen says:


    a) if you can’t see where the potential harm is in more roading in one of the most roading-centric countries of the world is, we don’t need to discuss this any further.

    b) This is a large-scale State Highway project. Like all these in Joyce’s changes to the GPS in the last couple years, it takes away money from public transport, from local roads (fixing the potholes, upgrading footpaths, black spots and building cycle facilities). Also, because it is a large-scale construction project, it will go to a large company, while the smaller contractors suffer from the aforementioned shift to large-scale state highway projects that they can’t reasonably bid on. The money, or most of it, thus goes to large companies, outside of the local area, and often, outside of NZ. NOT to Rotorua and into the local economy. Again, I wonder why you dont get my point. Disagree with it? Fine. But what is so hard to understand about it?

    c) You know what? Giving everyone $1000 probably makes a lot more sense than building another road. Not necessarily in ALL cases (for all I know, new state highway X may be “necessary”, but it rarely is nearly as necessary as the proponents say).

    Most of all, you again miss my point regarding the mayor - yes, he may just be reaching for money for his area, and yes, it may even be true that if he/they refuse it, it will just go somewhere else. As I stated, Joyce is not going to build a new school for them, or help them with their leaky homes bill with the saved money instead.

    So in some weird sense, it probably is the right thing for the local mayor to say “yes, as long as you also pay for mitigation”. But it isn’t pretty.

    But what my real POINT was, is that this minister runs roughshod over what I (and many local government authorities) consider is really needed in NZ. He’s just spending our taxes like water on new roading schemes, and if you stand in his way, well, he will either ignore you and do it anyway, or go somewhere else and spend it there.

  12. damian says:

    A) I dont see any harm in building THIS Arterial route, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. (Not that I think its required)
    B) Completely agree with you on that and always have. I was merely discussing the Contractors Federation lobbying. Though I disagree about the money going offshore
    C) If you’re not in support of something you’ll never see the benefits. Each side has an arguement and each is valid as far as they are concerned

    At the end of the day, the mayor wants the money spent in the region and he is doing what he can to get it. Increasingly local councils are stipulating in their contract documents, that they will favour local contractors. And even if it does go to a larger company, some of the money will stay in the region. For example, local trucking companies, labour, materials etc.

    Like you I dont agree with the route, I dont think it is required. But I can see the mayors point and I support his actions in trying to look after his fellow residents.

  13. AKT says:

    @Damian Agree. The Mayor is doing his job just as Brown is pushing his rail barrow saying it will help Aucklanders. I also don’t see any harm in this route.

  14. Matt L says:

    My sister has just moved down that way from Auckland, she is living in Te Puke but works mainly in Rotorua so goes via this road almost every day. She just laughed when I asked if there was any congestion, basically there are cars but they don’t really slow you down at all.

  15. damian says:

    Its all relative I guess. I dont find AKL traffic particularly bad but everyone else seems to think there is an issue

  16. Pim says:

    In Holland, where I am atm on holiday, they have a situation similar to nz where a right wing govenment wants to build more motorways. Instead of building motorways for cars however, a lobbyist group wants to build motorways for bikes. Why not do the same here? If the majority of people are traveling from a similar dorection, and not too far away, then it could work. And on the argument above, I see the mayors point of view, but the money could be spent far better elsewhere. If the government is insisting on building motorways, it would be better to put the money from this highway into a new harbor crossing in Auckland, or maybe safety improvements all around the region, or in the Christchurch rebuild, but not here.

  17. damian says:


    The re build of CHCH does not need more money. As it stands now they have all the money in the world, but no one to build it.

    I dont thnk the major or Rotorua would share your views about CHCH or AKL either. He’s looking after his patch not the countries.

  18. Frances Louis says:

    The Mayor will not see the Eastern Arterial Route cos he not going to be in as Mayor. Theres enough supporters now to stop the Road going thru and to put him and his Deputy out.

  19. Frances Louis says:

    There ll be no road. No money and no support. The people win again.


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