Sav­ings ‘tip of the ice­berg’

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - CAITLIN MOORBY

Waikato coun­cils have al­ready jointly shaved about $350,000 off road­ing costs and now think there’s po­ten­tial to save mil­lions of dol­lars an­nu­ally through more co-op­er­a­tion.

The Waikato Road As­set Tech­ni­cal Ac­cord (Rata) was set up in 2014 to trial ways of cut­ting the $160 mil­lion road main­te­nance bill. The $350,000 is the first year’s re­sult, but the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­cils now have their sights set on mil­lions more.

As a re­sult, the nine coun­cils in­volved in the Waikato Road As­set Tech­ni­cal Ac­cord (Rata) trial project have de­cided it will go full-time to as­sist bet­ter spend­ing de­ci­sions.

They are the Waikato District Coun­cil, Hamilton City Coun­cil, Waipa District Coun­cil, Otoro­hanga District Coun­cil, Wait­omo District Coun­cil, South Waikato District Coun­cil, Mata­mata Pi­ako District Coun­cil, Hau­raki District Coun­cil and Thames Coro­man­del District Coun­cil.

Rata chair and Hau­raki Mayor John Tregidga said the de­clared sav­ings to date are just the start.

In its first 18 months, Rata has gen­er­ated $350,000 in ini­tial sav­ings and it’s mem­bers es­ti­mate be­tween 5 and 10 per cent of to­tal costs could even­tu­ally be cut an­nu­ally through ef­fi­cien­cies gained by work­ing to­gether.

‘‘This is a great ex­am­ple of what the fo­rum is do­ing in terms of mak­ing fur­ther im­prove­ments to lo­cal govern­ment in our re­gion.

Tregidga said Rata has made leaps and bounds in terms of knowl­edge shar­ing, over­com­ing skill short­ages and work­ing to­gether to im­prove the man­age­ment of road main­te­nance.

‘‘Es­tab­lish­ing it for the long haul through a more per­ma­nent ar­range­ment makes great fi­nan­cial sense if we can drive the sorts of sav­ings be­ing en­vis­aged.’’

He said the New Zealand Trans­port Agency 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 will be led by the cur­rent Rata project di­rec­tor, Dawn Inglis.

Waikato coun­cils be­lieve RATA has the po­ten­tial to save mil­lions of dol­lars an­nu­ally on road­ing costs. Pic­tured is an aerial pho­to­graph of the Cam­bridge section of the Waikato Ex­press­way.

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