Under Section 319 of the Local Government Act 1974 (now incorporated into the Local Government Act 2002) Councils have the power to construct, upgrade and repair roads, but this is a discretionary power. It does not compel a Council to construct and maintain carriageways on legal roads within their District.
In the Far North there are approximately 2500 kilometres of legal roads which are shown on maps but are not maintained by the Council. There is no legal obligation to form or maintain any of these roads.
In certain circumstances where the Council has chosen not to construct a carriageway on an unformed legal road, or has chosen not to maintain an existing carriageway, the Council may permit private citizens to fund the construction and/or maintenance of a carriageway themselves. Each case is considered on its merits and may be subject to conditions. However it is not often that the Council would refuse such a request unless there are circumstances under which this may not be in the best interests of the wider community.