Danielle Gaudin wants compensation from Fulton Hogan after a pothole on the outskirts of Kerikeri caused over $2000 worth of damage to her car.
Waka Kotahi needs to “come to the party and sort this out” after a Northland woman’s car was so badly damaged after it hit a series of potholes, one of the airbags was deployed, and
the vehicle is now unroadworthy.
Whangārei resident Danielle Gaudin was heading north along Bulls Rd on State Highway 10 on May 5 around 7.30am when she hit the cluster of potholes.
At the time, her 3-month-old son was in the car with her, and it was raining heavily.
“It was scary, I didn’t even know what had happened,” she said.
“As I was driving up I didn’t notice them, it wasn’t till they were in front of me that I saw them.
“I swerved to miss one and ended up hitting the other. If I’d swerved any more I would have hit oncoming traffic.
“I heard this loud bang and didn’t really know what had happened. I was in shock.”
Gaudin said she pulled the car over and went to turn the hazard lights on to find them already going.
That’s when she also felt the pain in her hip caused by the airbag on the driver’s side deploying. Her son was fast asleep until the incident, but woke screaming, she said.
“The airbag hit me in the hip… there was just this pain and it ended up forming into a nasty bruise.
“Thankfully my baby and I are ok but our vehicle isn’t.
“We’re left without a vehicle due to the poor standards of the roads.”
The incident comes one month after Gaudin and her partner Devlin Maras got a new warrant of fitness and registration for the silver BMW.
Gaudin, who doesn’t have car insurance, has been quoted $2226 to repair the car, which includes fixing the suspension arms, ball joints, steering rack, and front wheel rims.
The couple is now seeking compensation from New Zealand’s government roading agency or their contractor Fulton Hogan.
They contacted Waka Kotahi and filled out a compensation form and were then referred to Fulton Hogan.
They filled out a separate form for Fulton Hogan which told them quotes and witnesses were also required, she said.
Gaudin posted her plight on the Northland Potholes Facebook page seeking witnesses to the incident which had many people sympathising they’d also hit potholes on that stretch of state highway.
She is now waiting to hear back from Fulton Hogan, having sent them a quote for the $2226 and other information they required.
The couple didn’t include a quote for the airbags and car interior to be repaired, however, as the quote itself was going to cost between $200 and $400 and “we can’t afford it”, Gaudin said.
“We want some sort of compensation to get our vehicle back on the road, it’s not just the underbody it’s the interior as well.”
Fulton Hogan has been approached for comment.
Waka Kotahi said in the last two years it has received 193 complaints about potholes in the vicinity of this one.
Northland spokeswoman Jacqui Hori-Hoult said crews “do their best” to clear slips and repair potholes and other damage to road surfaces as quickly as possible.
“But contractors aren’t always able to make immediate repairs,” she said.
“We urge drivers to take extra care on the road during and after heavy rain – even when the heaviest weather has subsided, people may encounter damaged road surfaces, with deterioration caused by sudden and heavy rainfall.”
Gaudin was contacted by Maungaturoto farmer Grant McCallum who is representing Northland for the National Party in the upcoming general election.
McCallum visited Gaudin on Monday and said the situation was “highly unacceptable”.
“What it reflects is an appalling situation where NZTA’s lack of investment in our roads has been shown up.
“Northlanders shouldn’t have to put up with damage to their vehicles when trying to go about their daily lives.”
McCallum said it was also unfair of Fulton Hogan to ask for quotes that cost hundreds of dollars during a cost-of-living crisis.
“It’s totally unfair on a young couple who are struggling, like a lot of people, with the cost of living to suddenly have extra costs incurred so they can get their vehicle fixed.
“NZTA need to come to the party and sort this out.”
Gaudin said it’s the last thing she and Maras need after they recently fell victim to an elaborate rental scam.
In March the Northern Advocate reported the couple forked out $3600 for bond and two weeks’ worth of rent to a fraudster being investigated by police.
Northland MP Willow-Jean Prime said the incident was brought to her attention via a member of the community.
”I have asked my office to make sure that Waka Kotahi are aware of what has occurred. I regularly drive that road and am aware of the reoccurring potholes there. The Government is working alongside council to address these issues.”