During the year, the Ministry delivered over 98 percent of its Output Plan as agreed with the Minister of Transport (the Minister). On top of this programme of work, the Ministry also undertook a number of new initiatives that emerged throughout the year, such as the Air New Zealand–Virgin Blue Alliance and the Auckland CBD Rail Tunnel Review.
The Ministry has also contributed to whole-of-government work programmes over the year. Some of which had significant implications for transport, particularly the National Infrastructure Plan.
The key achievements for the 2010/11 year are set out below under the government’s four immediate priorities for transport:
Investment in infrastructure
Air New Zealand–Virgin Blue Alliance
Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue applied for authorisation for a trans-Tasman Alliance. This was a major project for the Ministry that required complex statutory and wider public interest analyses of the application, including taking into account the views expressed by third parties and the applicants.
The Ministry’s analysis established that authorisation would be consistent with the legislation, could bring benefits to consumers, would bring about cost savings and would allow Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue to compete more effectively with Qantas.
Clifford Bay ferry terminal
The Ministry worked closely with the Treasury and the NZTA on an initial analysis of the national economic costs, benefits and financial viability of the proposed Clifford Bay ferry terminal. The work on Clifford Bay is continuing in 2011/12.
Freight Information Gathering System (FIGS)
The aim of the FIGS is to collect multi-modal freight information based on the flow of cargo through ports. Further work to develop the FIGS was undertaken. This will enable better informed policy development regarding freight issues. Five container ports are providing data to the FIGS and it is expected that all container ports will be participating by the end of 2011.
The Ministry progressed work on developing a high-quality transport system for Auckland, the nation’s largest economic hub, in the following areas:
- providing advice on the establishment of Auckland Transport
- working with stakeholders to develop the metro rail funding and ownership framework, particularly for the new electric rolling stock
- leading the review of the CBD Rail Link Business Case, providing advice to Ministers and guidance on next steps
- contributing and providing advice on the development of the Auckland spatial plan
- working with Auckland Transport and other stakeholders on the development of a new public transport operating model
Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding 2012/13–2021/22 (GPS 2012)
The government will invest more than $36 billion in the land transport system over the next 10 or so years. The Ministry led the development of the GPS 2012, which sets the outcomes and priorities from the investment of the National Land Transport Fund commencing 1 July 2012. The government released the GPS 2012 in July 2011. The GPS 2012 will influence the transport decisions taken by a range of agencies (including the NZTA and local authorities) and better align those decisions with the government’s outcomes and priorities.
The Ministry advanced the implementation of the government’s new metro rail operating model. Significant progress was made on future arrangements for Auckland, and a final agreement for an asset transfer agreement between the Greater Wellington Regional Council and KiwiRail was reached. Greater Wellington Regional Council is now the owner of much of the region’s above-track rail infrastructure, including the rolling stock and most of the stations. This agreement was part of a broader funding and ownership package to complete the rebuild of Wellington commuter rail services.
An objective for KiwiRail is that it becomes a commercially viable freight business over the next 10 years. The new metro rail operating model contributes to this by enabling KiwiRail to focus on its freight operations.
The Canterbury earthquakes required an immediate response from government agencies. The Ministry’s Transport Response Team was activated within 15 minutes of the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February. The Ministry coordinated transport-related information from all transport agencies during the emergency period. We also provided advice on transport issues, including road funding, the process to rebuild infrastructure, Orders in Council and the development of the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority.
Regulatory reform programme
The Ministry established a new regulatory reform programme. This is a cross-modal response to the government’s goals for better and less regulation, and is made up of projects and activities concerned with potential short to long-term issues with the regulatory framework for transport.
The key purpose of the regulatory reform programme is to improve the way the transport sector performs its regulatory function. Transport regulation has a large impact on the economy and society. Poor regulation could place an unnecessary burden on businesses and therefore hinder the government achieving its priorities around both its economic objectives and its ambitions for improvements in the quality of regulation.
The programme has three main elements.
- Identifying any opportunities for reform that deliver substantial improvements to the transport regulatory system.
- Business improvement initiatives, such as the Transport Rules Re-design Project.
- Regulatory business as usual, such as ongoing regulatory programming and delivery and regulatory scanning.
Transport rules re-design
To address concerns over the delays in the delivery of the transport rules programme, the Ministry led the development of changes to the current transport rules development process. This was implemented on 1 July 2011 to make rule-making more efficient by:
- increasing the speed of the process, while ensuring quality of rule design
- allowing closer alignment of new rules with government and regulatory reform priorities
- being more responsive to the needs of the transport sector
The suite of rules proposed for 2011/12 is significantly smaller, and more achievable, than it was last year (a 37 percent reduction in the number of rules).
Better public services
Maritime New Zealand review
The Ministry and Maritime New Zealand worked on a joint project (the Maritime New Zealand Review) to conduct a value-for-money and funding review, which included a full review of the industry levy: the Marine Safety Charge. Any changes to funding arrangements are expected to be implemented in 2012.
Civil Aviation Authority funding review
The Ministry worked with the Civil Aviation Authority on its funding and value-for-money reviews. These reviews identified the need for clearer long-term thinking on the shape of the Civil Aviation Authority and key decisions to be taken to enhance its capability to deliver its longer-term vision. The reviews also provided the Ministry with the opportunity to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Civil Aviation Authority and we have followed up with the Civil Aviation Authority Board to ensure it remains focused on the government’s strategic priorities.
Transport Crown agency board appointments
The Ministry advised the government on the appointment of a number of chairs/deputy chairs and board members for the transport Crown agencies. As part of this, the Ministry engaged with the Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit to utilise their database for the board appointments. This enabled the Ministry to lift the calibre of candidates considered for board appointments and led to a more efficient board appointment process.
Safer Journeys action plan
The Ministry coordinated the development of the Safer Journeys action plan across a number of agencies to implement the government’s Safer Journeys road safety strategy. The action plan was launched in May 2011 and assigns responsibility for more than 100 actions to a number of government agencies. Implementation of the actions will assist in reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads and improve overall road safety.
Land Transport (Road Safety and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2011
The Ministry concluded a significant piece of policy work on a number of Safer Journeys initiatives when the Land Transport (Road Safety and Other Matters) Act was passed by Parliament in May 2011. The Act represents the most significant road safety package since 1998. Changes include:
- raising the minimum driving age to 16
- introducing a zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers aged under 20 years
- allowing Courts the option to require repeat or serious drink-drive offenders to use alcohol interlocks, after a mandated 3 month disqualification
- imposing a 3-year zero BAC licence for repeat drink-drive offenders following a period of disqualification, or following completion of an alcohol interlock penalty
- increasing the maximum penalty from 5 years imprisonment to 10 years for the following driving offences causing death:
- drunk or drugged driving
- unauthorised street racing
- dangerous driving
- reckless driving
Further information on the Ministry's work in 2010/11
This is but a sample of the wide and varied work of the Ministry in 2010/11. Further information on the work done is reflected in the section of the report on our non-financial performance.