This result area supports the Government’s priority for economic growth and value for money

Even with an effective programme to achieve more from the existing asset base, we will need to change the shape of our transport system to accommodate changes in the location of demand and increasing expectations around service levels. Growth in our main urban centres, particularly Auckland, is driving much of the need for new investment. While most of New Zealand’s land transport network has sufficient capacity to accommodate expected growth with only modest capacity enhancements, there are pinch points within the system that, once addressed, will improve the efficiency of the roading network as a whole.

Having a clear forward investment strategy is critical to ensuring that the investments made today will be robust for future needs and will not impose unnecessary costs on New Zealand. The key will be getting the right balance between making necessary investments and avoiding investment in underperforming assets, which will add unnecessary cost to the transport system and reduce the international competitiveness of New Zealand exporting firms.

As the owner of the rail network, which is responsible for the movement of 16 per cent of domestic freight tonne kilometres, the Government also has an important role in determining how it invests in the rail network for the future.

The Ministry’s role in achieving higher returns from new transport investments

The Ministry has an important role in advising the Government on opportunities to achieve higher returns from new transport investments. This includes its advice on policy settings for the Government Policy Statement on land transport (that drives the NZ Transport Agency’s investment decisions) and on other Crown funded investment opportunities within the transport portfolio.

What we intend to achieve

The following projects and activities over the next four years will enable our work to be a catalyst for higher returns from new transport investments.

Development of an investment strategy for the transport portfolio

The investment strategy, as discussed on page 14, will also make a significant contribution to this intermediate result.

Development of an Auckland future strategy

Current investments to provide the final links in the long-planned motorway network and to upgrade and electrify the metro rail network will result in a step change in the performance of Auckland’s transport system. However, decisions on the next phase of large scale transport investment are more challenging.

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport both have statutory roles in planning the development of the city’s transport network through the Auckland Plan and the Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan respectively.

The success of Auckland’s transport network is important to the nation’s economy. The scale of the transport challenges Auckland is facing to effectively accommodate forecast population growth dwarves that of other regions. This has significant ongoing implications for national transport funding demands. Even with the Auckland Council’s planned investment in infrastructure and public transport, congestion will significantly worsen by the mid 2030s. Given the Government will inevitably be a significant funder of future transport initiatives there is a need to be satisfied that planned investments will deliver the best outcome for Auckland and the nation.

Part of the Ministry’s role is to provide the Government with strategic advice on how Auckland’s transport system will need to develop to meet the government’s objectives, and the policy settings needed to achieve the best results. The Ministry intends to form a strategic view on how Auckland’s transport network should develop over the next 30 years. This may involve engaging with Auckland Council to identify and test strategic options that could better meet both the Government’s and Auckland Council’s objectives for Auckland.

Development of a business case for the Auckland City Rail Link

The Government has committed to developing a joint business case for the City Rail Link with Auckland Council in 2017 and providing its share of funding for a construction start in 2020.

The Government has also signalled that it will consider an earlier start date if it becomes clear that Auckland’s CBD employment and rail patronage growth will hit specified thresholds faster than current rates of growth suggest.

The Ministry will continue to monitor progress against the thresholds that could trigger an earlier start date, and will provide the Minister of Transport with six-monthly updates on these.

In 2017, the Ministry will work with Auckland Council, and other agencies as appropriate, to develop the business case for the City Rail Link.

Development of the Government Policy Statement 2018

The Minister of Transport has released GPS 2015 and the Ministry will work with the NZ Transport Agency to monitor its implementation and impact on land transport outcomes.

Building on the new investment strategy for the transport portfolio and our monitoring of the GPS 2015, the Ministry will aim to further sharpen its assessment and advice on how to optimise the investment priorities through the next GPS (which we expect will be effective from 2018).

Strengthening our oversight and assessment of all new investment/expenditure proposals

In addition to regulating road and other land transport investment decision-making through the GPS, the Ministry regularly considers other proposals to use new funding or undertake new services across the transport sector.

These come from reviews of third party funding like the MetService contract administered by the Ministry, from one-off events or initiatives like the Rena grounding, or other ongoing initiatives like the SuperGold Card policy.

Although these proposals often emerge at different times in the year, they all feed in to annual budget thinking. The Ministry will work to take advantage of developments and tools in other investment prioritisation areas – like the Better Business Case and investment logic mapping tools – to ensure the cohesion, consistency and rigour of the presentation and analysis of these proposals.

Examine accessibility issues

Digital technologies continue to promise new ways of improving access to many markets and opportunities for New Zealanders. At the same time, the physical movement of people and goods is also going to remain important.

How profoundly technological change will impact on accessibility issues is a major source of uncertainty for the transport sector.

Central to resolving this uncertainty is a good understanding of what people will want access to, why, and how transport fits into that.

Building on the scenarios developed in the Ministry’s 2014 Future Demand strategy project, the Ministry will investigate how to help the sector to acquire and maintain a systematic understanding of changes in access requirements, so that this insight can be made available to network planners.

How performance will be assessed

Results — the Ministry will know that it has achieved its stated result if, by 2025, there are:

  • higher average returns from new transport investment decisions taken by the Government transport agencies (including local government).

Success — the Ministry will know that it has been successful over the next two to four years if:

  • GPS 2018 provides an enhanced investment strategy for the Government’s investment in land transport
  • there is greater transparency and reporting on the trends in the level of benefit cost ratio being achieved from new Government investments across the transport system
  • regulatory changes to support implementation of the new National Airspace and Navigation Plan by the Civil Aviation Authority are bedded in and understood by the aviation sector
  • there are appropriate arrangements in place to support the Government’s investment in rail freight in the context of a multi-modal transport sector
  • the Ministry has a deeper understanding of the potential for different modal investments to enhance the efficiency of the Auckland transport network
  • the application of new ITS technology is improving the performance of existing transport infrastructure and deferring the need for investment in additional roading capacity.


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