Union questions research into ‘Māori experiences’ in transport sector

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 5, 2022

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the benefit of Waka Kotahi’s proposed research into ‘Māori experiences and expectations of the transport system in Aotearoa New Zealand’.

“Given the extraordinary spending that has gone on under this Government in the transport sector – with little to show for it – it is more important than ever that the agency employs restraint in their use of taxpayer dollars,” said New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union board member Casey Costello (Ngāpuhi).

“With inflation at a 32-year high, New Zealanders do not want to see their hard-earned taxes being spent on navel-gazing projects that will deliver no practical benefit to Māori or non-Māori.

“If any research into the diverse transport needs of New Zealanders can be justified, it should be by understanding geographic or income differences. An urban Māori earning $120,000 per year has a lot more transport needs in common with an urban non-Māori earning $120,000 than they do with Māori living in regional New Zealand on a much lower wage.”

Costello said the “wasteful” spending by the Government is only “pouring fuel on the fire of rapidly escalating inflation and the cost of living crisis”.

“Every spending decision made by Government agencies and departments should be scrutinised and justified. This particular project does not pass what should be an ever higher benchmark for what is appropriate public spending.”

The New Zealand Transport Agency has advertised for tenders for the research, which seeks to ask questions including:

  • How Māori perceive the transport system in Aotearoa (e.g., as a whole system, a set of infrastructure, a way to get from A to B or something that provides access to opportunity, etc) and why have these perceptions come about?
  • How are Māori responding to government priorities for transport, such as the road to zero strategy and mode shift?
  • What are Māori expectations and priorities for transport, now and in the short, medium, and long-term future?