During the year, the Ministry delivered over 95% of its Output Plan as agreed with the Minister of Transport (the Minister). In addition to work agreed at the beginning of the year, the Ministry responded to events as they arose (for example, the National War Memorial Park) and took on a range of assignments not originally programmed.
This section sets out our key achievements for 2012/13, under the Minister’s priorities for transport:
- investment in infrastructure
- better quality regulation
- safer transport system
- opening markets
- improved transport agency performance.
Investment in infrastructure
Clifford Bay Ferry Terminal
The Ministry started work on assessing the commercial viability of this project. If built, the improved connection between the North and South Islands would reduce journey times from Wellington to Christchurch by 80 minutes by car, or 110 minutes by rail. This reduced journey time would increase the efficiency of our national transport network and therefore enhance economic growth.
The Minister will be provided with a report on the viability of this project in late 2013.
The Ministry led and coordinated feedback with the Treasury and the NZ Transport Agency on Auckland Transport’s City Centre Future Access Study and led analysis and advice to Ministers on the outcomes of the study. The Ministry also provided supporting analysis and advice for the government’s Auckland transport package. This package sets out the government’s decisions on next steps for major transport projects, including plans to bring forward construction start dates for key State highway projects.
National War Memorial Park
The government’s key project to acknowledge the Centenary of the First World War is a National War Memorial Park on Buckle Street in Wellington. The Ministry worked closely with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the NZ Transport Agency to draft legislation and ensure that the required underpass and park will be completed in time to be the centrepiece of Anzac Day commemorations in 2015.
Freight Information Gathering System (FIGS)
The Ministry has worked with key stakeholders to develop FIGS, a system that gives insight into the logistics chain and how it is evolving. Information produced through this system includes proportions of international freight and port container handling.
The container-handling statistics have shown us that New Zealand ports are more productive than Australian ports in handling containers. In some quarters, New Zealand’s statistics exceeded Australia’s across all three measures of productivity collected by both countries.
Better quality regulation
The Ministry continues to progress a programme for regulatory reform across three key areas:
- opportunities for reform in the transport sector
- improving the way we carry out our regulatory business as usual
- developing our regulatory capability.
This programme of reform aims to ensure that New Zealanders benefit from a cost-effective, sensible and straightforward regulatory framework.
Vehicle Licensing Reform
The Vehicle Licensing Reform project identified opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden and compliance costs of four vehicle licensing systems, while ensuring ongoing safety. The joint Ministry and NZ Transport Agency project team recommended changes to the warrant of fitness, certificate of fitness, annual vehicle licensing and transport services licensing systems. Changes to the warrant of fitness system are estimated to result in net benefits to motorists and businesses of $1.8 billion over 30 years.
Following Cabinet’s agreement in January 2013 to reform the warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness systems, the Ministry and the NZ Transport Agency started work on the implementation needed to realise these benefits.
Agricultural Vehicle Reform
The Ministry led the development, consultation and completion of rule changes simplifying the on-road operation of agricultural vehicles. The majority of the changes took effect from 1 June 2013.
The Amendment Rules maintain road safety while reducing compliance costs for the agricultural sector in the key areas of work-time compliance, warrant of fitness testing and miscellaneous costs, and driver licensing costs. It is estimated that these changes will result in a net benefit to the sector of $51 million over 25 years.
Public Transport Reform
A new Public Transport Operating Model has been developed that will fundamentally shift how planning and delivery of public transport occurs.
Under the new model, regional councils define whole ‘routes’ for public transport services, and offer these by tender to commercial operators. This allows operators to compete to deliver the best service and, over time, is likely to deliver a more efficient and cost-effective public transport system.
The legislative changes needed to implement this new model were made in 2013 (through amendments to the Land Transport Management Act). The legislation came into force in June 2013.
Road User Charges (RUC)
The amendments made to the Road User Charges Act 2012 are the most significant change to the road user charges system since it was introduced more than three decades ago. The new system should encourage operators to make efficient choices in terms of the vehicles they purchase and the way they use them, reducing harm and environmental risk. The new system will also reduce opportunities for evasion, ensuring that operators are not able to gain an unfair advantage over competitors by paying less RUC than they should. It will also enable simpler administration, reducing transactional and compliance costs for users and the government.
The changes to the Act came into effect on 1 August 2012.
Safer transport system
Safer Journeys Action Plans
Safer Journeys is the government’s road safety strategy 2010 to 2020. The first Safer Journeys Action Plan underpinned much of our road safety work in the last year. New initiatives under this plan included the introduction of an alcohol interlock programme and a zero alcohol rate for high-risk drivers. Advice was provided to government on time limits on learner and restricted licences, and red light cameras. New rules were signed into law that extend the maximum age for mandated use of approved child restraints.
The Ministry led the development and delivery of a further Safer Journeys Action Plan. The plan is now in its implementation phase and it focuses on safer roads, safer speeds, safer vehicles and safer road use.
Canterbury earthquakes and the MV Rena grounding
Findings from the Canterbury earthquakes and the MV Rena grounding have influenced the Ministry’s emergency response arrangements and contributed toward the development of a work programme on resilience – now one of the transport sector’s four long-term desired outcomes for the transport system.
The Transport National Emergency Response Plan has been revised for improved communications, flexibility and agility, practising and preparedness. The revised plan adopts more flexible response arrangements to account more for unplanned risks. The Ministry developed and ran a desktop exercise for interagency responses to major transport accidents in November 2012, and conducted two practice set-ups of our Emergency Operations Centre.
New/expanded air services arrangements
In 2012/13 the Ministry successfully negotiated a record number of new or amended air services agreements. These arrangements enhance New Zealand’s ability to access markets around the world.
Entirely new open skies agreements have been established with Qatar, Kuwait, Paraguay, Uruguay and Iceland. We have replaced previous non-open skies agreements with new open-skies agreements for Brazil and Chinese Taipei; and we’ve amended existing agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and French Polynesia.
Improved transport agency performance
The Ministry has reviewed its approach to governance for the transport Crown entities.
Funding reviews have been carried out for Maritime NZ, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Security Service.
In order to further improve our efficiency and effectiveness, the Ministry is also working with other transport agencies to develop shared services, where appropriate, across the transport sector.
Further information on the Ministry's work in 2012/13
Further information on the work completed is reflected in the section of the report on our non-financial performance.