The vaka maintenance programme targets the cleaning and maintenance along the edge of public roads. It is delivered through 10 different contracts for different parts of Raroronga.
According to the 2013-14 budget documents, vaka maintenance was reduced by $50,000 a year.
This money has been moved to the Office of the Prime Minister, to be used for ‘special projects’ that the government wants contractors to complete. These projects include painting bridges on the back road to make them more visible at night.
The $50,000 will be distributed evenly between the contractors – a fund of $5000 each that must be applied for separately.
The $5000 is half the money allocated to special projects for each contractor.
Internal Affairs advisor for the programme Patrick Arioka said the fund was moved because it was not being used for the purpose it was meant for.
“Special projects weren’t properly addressed. If the puna (constituencies) are not going to step in, the government is going to take control,” he said.
“The government has said, we’re going to step in because we’re not seeing these things happening out there. The government will need to make sure these special projects happen.”
He said funds for special projects were typically accumulating in the contractor’s accounts, to be saved for emergencies.
“They weren’t misusing the funds, but there are some utilities that are supposed to be looked after.”
Co-ordinator of the Rarotonga Beautification Programme Nga Teao-Papatua said the change is a chance to start afresh.
“We have no choice, it’s done Let’s start a new page and move on, for the betterment of the beautification process.”
Arioka said while the money was moved because contractors were not completing special projects, Internal Affairs should also have enforced the completion of these projects.
“We also failed. We should have been harder on you guys to get the projects done.”
Internal Affairs will meet with the 10 contractors on July 9 to discuss how the new fund will be accessed.
The 2013-14 budget document read that the government would allocate $400,000 for the maintenance of vegetation growth on public roads in Rarotonga. Previous annual budget allocations for vaka maintenance were $450,000 per year.
The annual budget for vaka maintenance is divided according to length of public road.
The 10 puna are: Tupapa and Maraerenga, Takuvaine and Takimoa, Ruatonga and Avatiu, Atupa and Panama, Nikao, Ruaau, Akaoa, Murienua, Titikaveka and Ngatangiia, and Matavera.