Savings ‘tip of the iceberg’
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.