Simeon Brown named the next Minister of Transport

In News5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 24, 2023

Simeon Brown has been named the new Minister of Transport.

The new National-Act-NZ First Government officially unveiled the next Cabinet line-up on Friday.

Matt Doocey was  named Associate Minister of Transport.

Brown has also picked up the energy, local government and Auckland portfolios as well as being  named Deputy Leader of the House.

Winston Peters and David Seymour will share the role of Deputy Prime Minister for the first time in New Zealand’s political history.

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand has welcomed the announcement, with interim CEO Dom Kalasih saying, “The incoming minister has been a strong advocate for fixing roads and potholes, restarting the infrastructure pipeline, and getting more efficient trucks operating on our network.

“He has a strong grasp of the transport sector and what is needed to get things back on track,” he said.

Brown met with Transporting New Zealand prior to the election campaign to discuss industry priorities. He also spoke at Transporting New Zealand’s conference earlier this year, pledging to fix the stalled random roadside drug testing regime and committing to substantial investment in the State Highway network and public transport improvements.

Kalasih said that while modernising New Zealand’s roading network will take years to achieve, the incoming government can immediately get some quick runs on the board.

“This includes repealing the land transport rule that has seen inefficient and unpopular speed limit reductions. It also includes amending weight and dimension rules to get more electric and lower emission trucks on the road, and updating immigration settings to address the acute national shortage of truck drivers,” he said.

“In the coming days we’ll be releasing a full briefing to the Incoming Minister that will set out the key issues and priorities for our members, as well as a suite of Land Transport Rules changes agreed by all three national road freight associations.

“We’re looking forward to working with the incoming minister and helping to make the road transport sector even better.

“With nearly 93 per cent of New Zealand’s freight task being transported by road, our sector is essential to the success of the entire economy, particularly our exporters and consumers. It’s essential the incoming government makes transport investment and regulatory reform a priority this term.”

Freight industry bodies NRC and NTA have also welcomed the announcement.

“We look forward to working with Simeon, who we have established a good relationship with over the last year or two,” said NRC chief executive Justin Tighe-Umbers.

“There are stiff challenges ahead. To achieve what we need to will require collaboration across the transport and road construction sectors.”

NTA CEO David Boyce said the industry looked forward to the infrastructure and roading improvements announced by Mr Luxon as part of National’s coalition agreements with ACT and New Zealand First.

“These include the establishment of an infrastructure agency to help deliver modern reliable infrastructure by improving funding procurement and delivery and beginning work on 13 new roads of national significance and four major public transport upgrades,” he said.

Luxon also announced the new Government will progress the infrastructure fund proposed by New Zealand First with $1.2 billion in funding for regional infrastructure.

“There is a lot to do but we like the new Government’s focus on productivity and efficiency that can be further enhanced with emissions reductions,” said Boyce.

“It’s important we get moving on these improvements immediately because road freight is a critical sector that delivers 93 per cent of goods for New Zealanders every day,” said Tighe-Umbers.

“We mustn’t waste any more time.”