Government’s 10 year $55 billion transport commitment to address safety,
freight, choice and climate change priorities sets a new investment benchmark,
but the next Government will need to fully mobilise transport planning, funding
and investment if New Zealand is to achieve, rather than just promote,
transport outcomes,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New
newly released Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) allocates an
average of $4.8 billion per annum over the next decade to Waka Kotahi – the NZ
combined with the $6.8 billion NZ Upgrade Programme and other initiatives,
transport investment in New Zealand will reach record levels.
the Government has responded quickly to industry calls for urgent maintenance
work with an additional $500 million of funding for state highways.
Road to Zero safety campaign has also seen a major boost of over $400 million
per year in annual funding since the last GPS. Significant increases also flow
to the rail network.
missing from this GPS are several key initiatives necessary to not just promote
outcomes, but achieve them.
Government has committed to keeping road taxes at existing levels for three
years, but still expects National Land Transport Fund revenues to rise from
$4.4 billion to $5.1 billion over the coming decade.
suggests New Zealanders will not only keep driving conventionally powered
vehicles, but they’ll drive them more.
GPS could, and arguably should, have signalled Government intentions to ‘flip
the fleet’, support new transport energy infrastructure and rapidly expand
electric and other renewably-powered vehicles.
remains New Zealand’s best opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and doesn’t
need to just do its part, but must compensate for sectors like agriculture
where renewable technologies are not yet mature.
improvements to transport funding and financing are a strategic highlight of
the GPS, but remain under-developed in practice.
pricing needs to be progressed in the next term of Government or increasing
fuel efficiency will begin to undermine revenue before an adequate solution can
be put in place.
is also essential to optimise traffic flow, thereby reducing congestion and
of dollars of real estate value is being created through investment in high
quality rapid transit, but our willingness to ask beneficiaries to contribute
to implement value capture policies penalises transport users and funders, many
of whom, perversely, can no longer afford the inflated cost of housing near
employment. It also incentivises property speculation, undermining housing
open mind to alternative financing is welcome, but with just $1.5 billion of
debt against $4.5 billion of annual revenue, there is wide scope for Waka
Kotahi to borrow more.
small amount of additional borrowing would be sufficient to address maintenance
backlogs on both road and rail networks, improving reliability and safety.
transport and broader national outcomes really are the priority, all available
tools need to be implemented, not just investigated.
GPS is a major step forward, but if the Government is serious about actually
achieving, rather than just promoting, strategic transport priorities it is
going to have to employ the full range of tools at its disposal,” Glenn says.
For further information and
comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229