The Government's Strategic Direction

The government's broad vision is for a fairer, more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable New Zealand2. To support that vision the government has identified three priorities: 

  • economic transformation
  • families - young and old
  • national identity

In addition, measures to address the effects of climate change and make New Zealand a truly sustainable nation are a major focus. The New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES), and the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) include a number of targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

The purpose of our transport system is to move people and freight into and out of New Zealand, around New Zealand, and within our cities and towns. This purpose, along with the government's vision and objectives for the transport system, are established in the updated New Zealand Transport Strategy (NZTS), and underpin the broad contribution that transport makes to all of the government's priorities.

The New Zealand Transport Strategy - vision and objectives

Vision: "By 2010 New Zealand will have an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system"3

Objectives for the transport system:

  • assisting economic development
  • improving access and mobility
  • assisting safety and personal security
  • protecting and promoting public health
  • ensuring environmental sustainability

Strategic Environment

There continues to be a number of significant challenges facing the transport sector. These include addressing sustainability and specifically climate change issues, Auckland's transport challenges, meeting the transport needs of an aging population, enhancing the movement of freight, transport funding, lowering the road toll and minimising aviation security risks.

The Ministry is leading a number of initiatives within the government's priority for 'economic transformation', through the sub-theme of 'world-class infrastructure - transport'. Expanding public transport in conjunction with demand management and completing the strategic roading network is important to reducing travel delays, especially in Auckland. Other work, including the Auckland Transport Strategic Alignment Project and Auckland Road Pricing Project will also contribute to Auckland becoming a truly world-class region, and the broader economic transformation agenda.

The Ministry contributes to 'Families - young and old' through increasing access and mobility through transport services. For example the Getting there - on foot, by cycle Strategic Implementation Plan 2006-2009 outlines a plan to increase walking and cycling. We also contribute to the 'National identity' priority through our work to reduce the climate change effects of transport. The update of the NZTS includes actions that will give effect to the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for transport contained in the NZES and the NZEECS. 

Ministry's outcomes and impacts

In 2006/07 an independent review of the land transport sector, The Next Steps Review of the Land Transport Sector, was undertaken under the leadership of the State Services Commission. This resulted in the development and introduction of the Land Transport Management Amendment Bill in 2007/08. This Bill was referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee for consideration.This amendment to the Land Transport Management Act 2003 is aimed at making fundamental improvements to the way land transport investment is managed in New Zealand. The major changes (if the Bill is passed) are outlined below.

Government Policy Statement

The introduction of a Government Policy Statement (GPS), will provide additional strategic guidance to the land transport sector. The GPS will ensure that national priorities such as preserving the state highway network and enhancing public transport services are maintained.

Under the new system there will be: a clear link between the updated New Zealand Transport Strategy and the National Land Transport Programme; funding allocations specified for each activity class; and specific funding policies.

Establishment of the New Zealand Transport Agency

The establishment of a new agency (New Zealand Transport Agency) will replace the existing Crown entities Land Transport New Zealand (Land Transport NZ) and Transit New Zealand (Transit). As this agency develops and manages each new three-yearly National Land Transport Programme it will give effect to the GPS. The new entity will be a Crown Agent as defined under the Crown Entities Act 2004. It will have all the functions that Land Transport NZ and Transit currently have, except for the power to declare and revoke state highways, which will become the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport Chief Executive.

Regional Land Transport Programmes

The formulation of new Regional Land Transport Programmes will be put together by Regional Land Transport Committees and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. The Committees will need to prioritise land transport activities for their regions, including state highways, but excluding activities like local road maintenance and other non-strategic projects.

National Land Transport Strategy and Regional Land Transport Strategies

The Bill will consolidate all land transport planning provisions into one Act. There will also be an extension to the planning horizon of land transport strategies to 30 years to reflect the long-term nature of transport planning. The strategies will be reviewed every six years, as opposed to the current three-yearly cycle.

Reserving fuel excise duty for land transport

All fuel excise duty obtained from motorists will be reserved for land transport purposes. This will ensure the public see what they are getting from the petrol excise duty and road user charges they pay.

The Bill also allows the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Finance to allocate part of the fuel excise revenue received from pleasure boat users to activities such as search and rescue, boating safety education, and maritime safety services.

Regional fuel tax

The Bill will allow regions to levy regional fuel taxes, thus allowing regions to bring forward capital projects should they wish to. The Bill limits the use of regional fuel taxes to capital assets and will ensure that the public understands the purpose of the tax and provides an end date for the tax.

Footnotes:

  1. Prime Minister's speech to Parliament 2008.
  2. Vision stated in the 2002 New Zealand Transport Strategy. The updated Strategy is due for release in July 2008.

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