Northland residents block dusty roads in protest

Frustrations have reached boiling point as locals of a small Northland town fight to have a notoriously dusty logging truck route sealed.

Locals have had enough and stepped up protest action by blocking logging trucks from using the gravel roads.

"Don't piss me off, you either do it or you go," one protester yelled at a truck driver while blocking the road.

"What you gonna do bro? What you gonna do? Cause you ain't going down here today!"

Puti Tipene says the dense dust clouds thrown up by the trucks are unhealthy and dangerous.

"The pollutant in the dust, it may not be the cause of sickness but it exacerbates the health issues in this valley."

Locals say up to 50 trucks drive along unsealed routes every day, and believe the council isn't doing enough to help.

"I'm pissed off, the whole community is," Ms Tipene says.

Three years ago, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) declined a $4.5 million funding request from the Whangarei District Council to fix the roads.

The NZTA says it is too costly to seal the whole road.

"Sealing rural roads is an expensive exercise for councils and ratepayers, with large ongoing costs.  Sealing all or even substantially more roads is regrettably not something councils can easily afford,"

The council instead opted to seal 100 metre sections outside homes to try and minimise the dust's effect. 

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai says the council wants the roads sealed but doesn't have the money.

"We've had money in our budget to do it ... if there was a subsidy from our partners the NZTA, that hasn't happened,

"Until that happens, we don't think it's appropriate for the wider ratepayers to pay 100 percent of that."

Ms Mai says the council plans to lodge another application with the NZTA and until they see the money, the protesters say they won't budge.