Election 2017 Transport Summit

6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 25, 2017

On Tuesday New Zealand Trucking attended a summit looking at the role of government in transport, looking to discover the politicians‘ views in the lead-up to Election 2017.

A panel discussion featuring spokespeople from the major political parties examined the issues of resilience and vulnerability, technology and innovation, and sustainability in transport.

At the start, each political candidate was given two minutes to outline their party‘s transport policies.

ACT Party leader David Seymour argued that most of the challenges and problems in transport could be solved with accurate pricing of the services people consumed.

“Technology is making that easier and easier to do as we go on and if you get that pricing decision right, then your decision to invest in different modes becomes much easier and much less politicised. But underlying all that, is that it‘s absolutely critical that government takes a leading role in planning and investing in transport infrastructure.”

NZ First candidate Denis O‘Rourke took the two minutes and ran with them, covering seven points of his party‘s transport policy. They included a more strategic approach to transport that would emphasise integration of all the transport modes and make the best use of existing infrastructure; more investment in transport infrastructure, particularly rail; more demand management in cities; and more emphasis on coastal shipping, including rationalisation of ports and regulation to ensure the infrastructure was used to its potential.

“NZ First will prioritise an additional 200 kilometres of median barriers, and safety improvements will be implemented on high volume, high speed roads over the next three years, especially where the NZTA has identified high head-on crash risks.”

O‘Rourke raised a few eyebrows by saying NZ First believed in a single land transport fund that covered both road and rail.

Michael Woods, Labour MP for Mt Roskill and the party‘s transport spokesman, said Labour felt the role of government in transport was to provide the infrastructure and the settings to get New Zealand moving.

He said transport shaped every facet of our lives and investments needed to take that into account.

“The investments we make need to be both evidence-based and immediately creating an integrated transport network in our cities and our regions and everywhere in between. An integrated transport network means thinking about all of the modes, road, rail, walking, cycling, coastal shipping and our air connections and then thinking about how we bring them all together to move people and freight most effectively.”

Green Party candidate Julie Anne Genter said most New Zealanders cared about protecting the national environment and heritage for the long term.

“From within those values, our Green transport policy is very much about a rational, long-term evidence-based approach to policy and infrastructure investment.”

She said the Greens saw rail, road and sea as part of the one network but felt at the moment our transport funding and planning was not integrated and was overly reliant on personal vehicles, which led to congestion.

“If we can reduce the total cost of transport in New Zealand, the economic cost, the environmental cost, the health and social cost, then there is a direct productivity gain to New Zealand. I‘m really passionate about the opportunities we have in transport to do things smarter in a way that benefits everyone.”

National MP for New Plymouth Jonathan Young said transport was incredibly important to New Zealand‘s economy.

“Transport has got to be driven by efficiencies and affordability – it has to be affordable for those who utilise transport and also affordable and efficient for transport operators, whether they be road, rail or sea. There are tremendous opportunities around intermodal relationships.”

National announced an additional 10 RONS this week and Young said these would help drive efficiency and create employment for the whole country.

The summit was organised on behalf of; the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, the Road Transport Forum NZ, NZ Shipping Federation, Bus and Coach Association, Motor Trade Association, Ports Association, Taxi Federation, NZ Heavy Haulage Association, Automobile Association, Motor Industry Association, Imported Motor Vehicle Association and the Maritime Union of NZ.

New Zealand Trucking will feature more on the summit in the magazine later.