As the lead agency in the transport sector the Ministry of Transport must set the vision and strategic direction for the future of transport in New Zealand.

Five years ago the government put in place the New Zealand Transport Strategy that described how an integrated transport sector should contribute to New Zealand's broader social, economic and environmental needs. It recognised that transport decisions impact every dimension of our lives - the economy, the way society functions and our environment - and stated, as an aspiration, that New Zealand should have 'an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system'.

In responseto the government's growing concerns about climate change and focus on sustainability, it was important to re-examine this strategy and the transport sector to ensure a secure future for transport in New Zealand.

This year (2007/08) we will launch the updated New Zealand Transport Strategy. This revised strategy sets specific transport targets that align with those already decided by the government in the areas of sustainability, energy and climate change, as outlined in the New Zealand Energy Strategy.

Our vision for future transport is for it to be dynamic, sustainable and represent value for money for New Zealanders. Over time there will be more hybrid and electric vehicles. More people walking, cycling and using public transport. More freight will be carried, and increasingly by rail and sea. There will be lower CO2 emissions owing to modal shifts, as well as increased fuel efficiency and new technology - including the widespread use of electric vehicles.

The 2007 Next Steps Review of the Land Transport Sector will mean a number of changes to the government land transport sector. These changes will improve the performance of the sector, by changing the land transport planning and funding system and creating a new transport Crown entity, to replace two existing ones.

As part of the Next Steps recommendations, the first Government Policy Statement (GPS) is being developed. The GPS, due for release in July 2008, is a three-yearly statement that will provide clearer direction from the government about the funding policy and priorities for the government land transport sector. Each new GPS will be informed through the development of a regular trends, issues and options paper.

Subject to the passage of the Next Steps legislation, the new Crown entity, the New Zealand Transport Agency, will be operational from 1 July 2008 and will be responsible for putting the GPS priorities into effect. The ministry will lead this transition and ensure that the GPS principles are understood and put into action appropriately.

Positive changes are afoot in the area of coastal shipping with the release this year of the final domestic sea freight strategy Sea Change. Coastal shipping allows both cost savings and environmental benefits. The objective of this strategy is to promote a level playing field for coastal shipping in competing with other transport modes.

The government has recently ramped up investment in Auckland's transport infrastructure to ensure more effective movement of both people and freight. Since 1999, the government has invested more than $3.2 billion in Auckland transport, with another $1 billion of investment in 2007/08. Government investment has already led to improved state highways, and, in conjunction with local government, local roads and public transport. The current high levels of investment in Auckland's transport infrastructure are set to continue with a large programme of works planned and underway. The Ministry is continuing its involvement in the implementation of the Rail Development Plan in Auckland. A major area of work for the Ministry has been the design of regional fuel tax which will enable the Rail Development Plan to proceed.

The government is investigating the merit of Public Private Partnerships for major infrastructural projects. The first infrastructural project being considered is the section of the Western Ring Route in Waterview in Auckland. The investigation is being undertaken through a committee with an independent Chair and representatives of the business sector. The ministry is making a significant contribution to the study.

Finally, on a topic close to my heart, the Ministry will continue work to ensure our roads are safer with a view to meeting a target of no more than 200 road deaths by 2040. A considerable part of our investment in land transport will deliver much safer roads, and work will also continue on initiatives that deal with drunk and drugged drivers, tougher rules for reckless drivers, strategies to combat fatigue, an improved driver licensing and driver education system and the introduction of reduced speed zones around schools.

In accordance with section 39 of the Public Finance Act 1989, I confirm that the information in this Statement of Intent is consistent with the policies and performance expectations of thegovernment. 

Hon Annette King
Minister of Transport

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