National Land Transport Strategy

  • Maurice Williamson

Good morning and welcome to the first workshop set up to develop a national land transport strategy for New Zealand.

It is great to see so many people here representing the whole spectrum of those with an interest in land transport.

It is good to see there is so much interest from Regional Councils and Territorial Local Authorities.

The Regional Land Transport Strategies have been in place since 1993.

We received a very clear message from our consultation process in 1994 that a national strategy was required and we are here to begin the process of developing it.

It is important to have a clear direction for land transport policy at the central Government level.

It is equally important for local government and the transport sector to be able to plan with confidence to meet their needs and the needs of transport users and the wider community.

This work must be done in awareness of the reality that we have a national land transport network.

Our policy needs to recognise that and also take into account national economic, social and environmental factors.

The purpose of the strategy is to develop the Crown's long term land transport goals and policy objectives.

And in developing the national strategy we will set measurable targets so we can achieve those goals and measure progress.

The scope of issues to cover in developing the national land transport strategy is quite broad.

Land transport policy affects us all, often without us realising it.

New Zealand's investment in land transport infrastructure is huge.

The Land Transport Pricing Study showed the public roading network alone has an estimated value of $25.8 billion.

And that is a preliminary valuation.

Annual National Roading Programme expenditure, together with the expenditure on land transport by territorial local authorities, is now well above $1 billion.

The review of funding by the Government in the Budget provided an additional $451.7 million for roading over 1995/96 levels for the next three years.

It is clearly important to make absolutely sure that our investment and expenditure on infrastructure is what is needed for New Zealand's future development.

There is a need to ensure that use of the land transport system is reasonably safe.

And we need to manage the environmental effects of land transport.

We must ensure there is reasonable access to land transport.

The relationship between transport planning and land use needs to be better understood through a more integrated approach.

The national strategy will provide overall strategic direction and scope for the Government's land transport policy.

This will include guidelines on the Government's investment and expenditure in land transport infrastructure.

Developing a long term vision of where we want to go, and strategies to get us there, is something which has not been done before.

There's nothing wrong with doing a first - as long as we do it right.

Sweeping reforms have been undertaken in other transport areas.

We now need to get land transport right.

The creation of a 'level playing field' between land transport and other transport modes is central to the Government's long term transport vision.

There are a number of results we can expect from the national strategy.

It will provide a policy framework for regional land transport strategies.

It will give the transport sector greater certainty about Government's long term policy.

The strategy will be implemented through having measurable targets to achieve the policy objectives that we establish.

The strategy will have the support of the wider community because they have been involved in working it out.

It will make sure that land transport policy is in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi, and with New Zealand's international obligations.

Each one of you will take part in developing our shared vision.

During phase 1 of the consultations, the Transport Strategy Group and Regional Land Transport Committees will be involved in meetings, and in a further workshop.

The target date for the release of the draft strategy is September 1997.

This may seem like a long time but participative consultations take time.

And there are a number of land transport discussion papers (with more to come) that must be considered in developing the national strategy.

We will then move to a wider consultation in phase two of the process.

The target date for completing the strategy is May 1998.

I believe the timing is realistic given the crucial need for widespread consultation.

The result should be a robust strategy with real outcomes for us all.

Throughout the consultations during the development of the national strategy you can be sure that your views will be heard, considered and responded to.

I know that many of you will want to have your say.

And that is as it should be.

In this way the thrust of the resulting strategy should come as no surprise to those who have joined in the consultations.

In the end, however, the Government is accountable to the New Zealand public for its actions.

That necessarily means that the final content of the strategy will be determined by the Minister of Transport on behalf of the Crown.

The process here is one of participative consultation rather than joint-decision making.

By consulting in this way the Government will be in a much better position to make an informed decision.

The strategy will have a term of no more than 10 years.

Even so it is necessary to look further in to the future.

We are aiming to achieve a transport regime which is of high value, thoroughly workable, and able to respond to future needs.

Let's get the process moving.

Let's develop a shared vision for the National Land Transport Strategy.

I wish you well in your task.