The Government has issued its 2018 Draft Policy Statement on land transport. It covers the period from 2018/19 until 2027/28, setting out the Government’s priorities for land transport and guiding the allocation of more than $4 billion a year from the National Land Transport Fund by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The Government says it's prioritising safety improvements aimed at reducing New Zealand's "appalling number of road deaths," with a focus on regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance and public transport, along with new investment in rapid transit and rail. Changes proposed, according to the Government, include a 46% average percentage increase over three years in public transport funding, and the establishment of rapid transit as a new activity class with $4 billion over 10 years with an initial focus on Auckland.
Feedback on the draft is being sought by 5pm on Wednesday, May 2.
Speaking at her weekly post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her Government is “shifting the focus of transport policy” and the draft policy statement was the roadmap to do so.
She says the Government’s focus will be safety and investing in roads that had been neglected by the previous Government.
It will also be prioritising better public transport use and rapid transit.
“We’re also focused on value for money,” Ardern said.
“What you won’t see under this Government is an investment in a small number of duel carriageway highways, while local roads and other safety in other transport options suffer.”
Speaking after Ardern, Transport Minister Phil Twyford outlined the Government’s commitment to a transport system which is free of death and serious injury.
He made reference to the eight people who died on the roads over the Easter holiday period – the worst toll in eight years.
“The fatality rate per billion kilometres travelled has risen 16% between 2013 and 2016.”
He says work done by the Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency suggests there may be around $800 million worth of “high value, road safety improvements in need of funding on local roads alone.”
Once complete, these improvements could prevent 160 deaths and serious injuries per year, Twyford says.
“That’s less than half the cost of the pervious Government’s East-West Link project.”
He says the Government’s policy shifts priorities from “costly white elephants” to high value improvements that will save lives.
Twyford says the Government will double the spending on reginal road improvements over the next three years, adding that half of all vehicle journeys are on local roads.
“Yet less than 5% of the National Land Transport Programme has been spent on improving them.”
In order to fund what Twyford calls its “pet projects,” – its roads of national significance, he says National starved local and regional roads, with spending on local roads increasing by just $6 million over the nine years’ National were in Government. Twyford says the previous National Government failed to disclose that NZTA had advised Simon Bridges that the petrol exercise and road user charges of between 10-20c a litre was needed to to pay for its promises on some of its expressways.
He says the Government has chosen to limit the increases to the lowest end of that range of between 9-12c a litre.
Meanwhile, National’s Transport spokesman Jami-Lee Ross says the Government’s policy statement confirms it plans to gut regional roading projects to pay for trams in Auckland, and to charge regional motorists more to do so. He says today’s announcement will be met with anger and disappointment right around New Zealand.
“That means roads which would have improved safety, created jobs, boosted regional economic growth and better connected our regional farmers and producers to our major centres will be axed.”
He takes aim at the 9-12c a litre proposed fuel tax, saying it – in combination with the impending Auckland fuel tax – could mean motorist will be paying an extra $10-$15 every time they fill up.
Government seeks feedback on Draft GPS 2018
The Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2018 on land transport released today is an important step towards making our roads safer so we can reduce New Zealand’s appalling number of road deaths, Transport Minister Phil Twyford says.
The GPS helps guide investment in transport by providing a longer-term strategic view of what is prioritised and why. The draft GPS 2018 prioritises safety, access to a wider range of transport options, the environment and value for money. The Government is now seeking feedback from local government, the transport sector and community groups on this proposal.
“With road deaths increasing every year since 2013, this Government is prioritising safety improvements. We’re going to invest in what makes the most difference - regional and local roads, and targeted improvements to the State Highway network,” says Phil Twyford.
“The previous government did not spend enough on road safety, and instead wasted funds on a few low-value motorway projects. This has created an imbalance in what is funded, with a few roads benefiting at the expense of other areas.
“This new approach requires a shift in transport investment. We are proposing increases to most activity classes, with specific focus on regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance and public transport, along with new investment in rapid transit and rail. This will help us create a resilient, efficient, safe and responsible transport system,” Phil Twyford says.
Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says rebalancing transport investment will help our regions thrive.
“Over the past nine years, National Land Transport Fund spending was reduced in Taranaki, Southland, West Coast, Otago, Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty by up to 30%. In contrast, Our Government will increase spending in the regional roading improvements funding class by 98%,” Shane Jones says.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says that by investing in safety improvements such as median safety barriers, intersection upgrades and rumble strips, we can make our roads safer and save lives.
“To create healthy, liveable cities we need to make it safe and easy for people to walk and cycle those short trips to school, work and around town. That’s why we’re proposing a significant boost in safe, walking and cycling infrastructure.
“Better public transport and safe cycling infrastructure will also help to reduce traffic and make life easier for people driving,” Julie Anne Genter says.