Hits down – funds cut

Agency shifts its fo­cus

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

The fre­quency of chil­dren be­ing struck by cars will rise again if the city’s road safety co-or­di­na­tor has to en­dure fur­ther fund­ing cuts, says a Porirua city coun­cil­lor.

Litea Ah Hoi said it was ‘‘em­bar­rass­ing’’ that Mark Kairua’s work in the community could be ham­strung by the NZ Trans­port Agency al­most halv­ing its fund­ing for the city’s road safety pro­gramme af­ter a re­cent re­view.

She raised the is­sue at a coun­cil meet­ing and said Mr Kairua’s valu­able work has come into fo­cus since the death of Ju­nior Ian­u­ali on Oc­to­ber 26.

‘‘Porirua East used to have a very high rate of chil­dren be­ing knocked over by cars but this has come right back in the last few years.

‘‘Much of that is down to the things Mark does.

‘‘By NZTA with­draw­ing fund­ing, it just puts more of our young ones at risk.

‘‘As a coun­cil which has done a lot for road safety in the past, we need to let NZTA know that this sit­u­a­tion isn’t good enough.’’

Porirua City Coun­cil will get $ 240,000 over the next three years from the agency for its road safety pro­gramme – $200,000 less than in the pre­vi­ous tri­en­nium.

The trans­port agency’s cen­tral re­gion di­rec­tor Jenny Chetwynd said the money it al­lo­cated to coun­cils is cal­cu­lated on a risk ba­sis and ‘‘demon­stra­ble ben­e­fits’’ con­sis­tent with the gov­ern­ment’s Safer Jour­neys pro­gramme.

There was now more of a fo­cus on high- need ar­eas such as Manukau and the Rimu­takas, Ms Chetwynd said.

Mr Kairua’s salary – about $50,000 – is paid from the coun­cil’s bud­get.

‘‘We ap­pre­ci­ate the dis­ap­point­ment of PCC but the re­al­ity is . . . we need to di­rect the bulk of it to com­mu­ni­ties which have a worse road safety record,’’ said Ms Chetwynd.

‘‘We are sad­dened by the death of Ju­nior Ian­u­ali and we are con­fi­dent the fund­ing we are pro­vid­ing will help PCC pro­vide tar­geted safety pro­grammes to pre­vent fu­ture tragedies like this.’’

Mr Kairua said bud­get dis­cus­sions with the agency were con­tin­u­ing and the $ 240,000 was likely to be con­firmed this month.

He would continue to de­liver the best road safety ini­tia­tives he could.

‘‘I’m still hold­ing the reg­u­lar talks in schools, do­ing things like help­ing Pa­pakowhai School with their walk­ing bus and work­ing with the [Porirua] Vik­ings on our road safety cam­paign,’’ Mr Kairua said.

‘‘ I am look­ing at al­ter­na­tive fund­ing av­enues as well, and I do very much ap­pre­ci­ate the fund­ing I do get from the coun­cil.’’

Be­fore Ju­nior Ian­u­ali, the last fa­tal­ity on Porirua’s roads was in 2010.

Four peo­ple died each year in 2009 and 2008.

Ms Ah Hoi, whose son was hit by a car sev­eral years ago, said it was heart- break­ing look­ing at Ju­nior’s cof­fin, and it put things like bud­gets into per­spec­tive.

‘‘I sat with the fam­ily and felt that as a coun­cil­lor we didn’t do enough.

‘‘I hate point­ing the fin­ger at NZTA but I think it needs to be aware that parts of Porirua need more in­vest­ment in terms of road safety mea­sures and ed­u­ca­tion through some­one like Mark.’’

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