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Transport is critical infrastructure, but one that is experiencing significant disruption amid rising demand for new modes of transport, the entrance of new technologies, and the shift away from fossil fuel power vehicles. This makes for a changeable and complex space for councils, particularly where it interfaces with central government transport infrastructure. It is more critical than ever for local government to pace the latest policy developments to ensure that they provide the transport infrastructure communities seek. National Council has directed LGNZ to advocate for local government in the transport policy space.

GPS reform

The Government Policy Statement (GPS) for Land Transport is the key strategic document that guides land transport investment in New Zealand. It sets the activities for the New Zealand Transport Agency and the local government sector alike. However, sharp and sudden changes in strategic direction result in downstream effects and costs at the local level, which tend to be overlooked when the strategy is developed.

This project seeks to:

  • Exposed the economic costs imposed on the city by sudden changes in the GPS, and advocate Government to adopt and adhere to a long-term planning transport strategy that better reflects the operational realities of transport infrastructure provision and the nature of the construction sector. It also seeks to ensure that community voices are heard and recognised by the Ministry of Transport in the GPS development process, and that the trade-offs are openly considered and acknowledged when setting policy.

Road safety implementation assessment

The Government’s recently launched Road to Zero strategy has set out five focus areas, aimed at reducing the injury and death toll on New Zealand’s roads. These areas include infrastructure & speed management, vehicle safety, work-related road safety; road user choices; and system management. As the owner of 88 percent of New Zealand’s roading network, how these focus areas develop will have key implications for local government.

This project seeks to:

  • Assess the likely impact on communities from these changes, using the four local government well-beings as an analytic lens, and ensure local voices are represented and heard in regional and national discussions around road safety. The voice of communities in developing road safety measures will be increasingly important as new modes of transport enter the network, and the aim of this project is to ensure any future policy framework ensures these voices are heard and recognised at a regional and national level.

Transport funding

New Zealand’s roads are largely funded by a hypothecated tax in the form of a fuel levy, but this means of funding will be subject to change in the near future as vehicle fleets shift away from fossil fuel powered vehicles, and Government looks to manage congestion using a price mechanism.

This project seeks to:

  • Steer the policy development process by exploring alternative road funding options and assessing their feasibility, costs and benefits, trade-offs, and limitations. It also seeks to partner with the industry to ensure any policy recommendations are widely supported.

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