Submission: The Draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.

Dr Matthew Birchall
3 April, 2024

1.1 This submission in response to the Draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport is made by The New Zealand Initiative (the Initiative), a Wellington-based think tank supported primarily by major New Zealand businesses. In combination, our members employ more than 150,000 people.

1.2 The Initiative undertakes research that contributes to the development of sound public policies in New Zealand and the creation of a competitive, open and dynamic economy and a free, prosperous, fair and cohesive society.

1.3 The Initiative’s members span the breadth of the New Zealand economy; a wellfunctioning transport system is important to them. The views expressed in this submission are the views of the author, not those of our members.

1.4 In summary, we submit:

(a) The Draft GPS significantly boosts funding for maintenance, which is widely recognised as the foremost priority for a well-functioning land transport system;

(b) It also signals the Government’s commitment to transitioning to a universal road user charge system. Road pricing will play a pivotal role in reforming the transport revenue system;

(c) However, the transport funding system remains dysfunctional;

(d) The current system increases the cost of delivering transport infrastructure as priorities and funding are determined by the preferences of Ministers, which may shift with changes in government;

(e) Ministerial direction is an inevitable consequence of a shift away from a system based on road user charges. Crown funding comes with Crown direction;

(f) The new Government should use GPS 2024 as an interim transport budget while fundamental reform is undertaken;

(g) The 1998 Better Transport Better Roads model should be the starting point for a redesign of the transport system.

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