Last year was another incredibly busy and productive time for the Ministry, as we addressed a number of important issues for the transport system and the New Zealand economy.
These included releasing the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding 2012, evaluating a proposal for a new ferry terminal at Clifford Bay, reviewing the vehicle licensing regimes, making major changes to the road user charges system, negotiating new air services arrangements with China and Japan, and advancing the Maritime NZ and Civil Aviation Authority funding reviews.
As a Ministry, we are now starting to see the benefits of some of the decisions that we took a couple of years ago to adopt a matrix-based modus operandi, reduce our overall costs, and to place a real focus on investing in the capability of all of our staff.
I believe that the way the Ministry is now working not only reflects the government’s goal for better public services, but that in some ways we are ahead of the game in terms of the innovation we are introducing to respond to the government’s challenge.
A good example of this is our programme of Regulatory Reform, which also responds to the government’s drive for better and less regulation. We’ve been driving reform in a number of areas by establishing special purpose teams to deliver results quickly. For example, we established a project team drawing on expertise from across the Ministry to focus on agricultural vehicle reform. To deliver that reform we worked with the NZ Transport Agency on options to remove the regulatory barriers to enhanced economic productivity (currently agricultural vehicles must meet many of the regulatory requirements that are designed for on-road vehicles) and to reduce compliance costs. This work was advanced in a relatively short period of time, with decisions announced by the government in August 2012.
Our work on the reform of the vehicle licensing regimes, and leadership of the National Road Safety Committee and the New Zealand Search & Rescue Council, are other good examples of the critical role that the Ministry plays in coordinating and leading a range of agencies that are working towards common outcomes for transport and the New Zealand economy.
Our ability to undertake these and other policy projects, amongst the many other initiatives that we have been leading for government, is a positive reflection on our efforts over the last two or so years, our flexibility, and the lift in capability and performance that we have achieved across the Ministry.
There remain ahead, however, significant challenges for the Ministry and the transport sector, and we look forward to meeting these in 2012/13 with the same professionalism and high standards that we have delivered in 2011/12.