Foreword: Minister of Transport

Since the devastating second Christchurch earthquake in February this year, the government has been committing resources to do what is needed to support and rebuild Christchurch. Getting the city back on its feet is one of the most important issues for the government, and for transport, this year and into the future. The exact nature and size of the earthquake’s impact on transport infrastructure, and the reprioritisation of transport funding that will be needed for Christchurch will become clearer over time.

The Christchurch earthquake has served to reinforce the importance of the government’s overall goal to grow the New Zealand economy, and of the need for a resilient and flexible transport system. A new Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport Funding is due for release this year and sets the agenda for government transport expenditure for the next ten years. The GPS is one of the main tools for ensuring that transport investment is targeted in the right areas to deliver economic growth and productivity.

Existing programmes such as the Roads of National Significance (RoNS) will continue to be strong investment priorities. The government has also committed funding for the nation’s rail freight business through its share of the $4.6 billion KiwiRail Turnaround Plan, and this is another important part of the longer-term approach. But like the other freight transport modes, KiwiRail needs to get to a point where it can pay its own way.

The government is also focused on value for money and lifting the performance of the public sector. This means lifting the performance of the transport system as a whole, through improvements in the operation of the roading network, State highway construction and maintenance, implementing a new public transport operating model, and by simplifying the regulatory framework and reducing unnecessary compliance costs. It is also about ensuring that the transport Crown entities provide value for money through their operations (this applies equally to operations that are funded directly by the government or through third party fees and charges), and that they are striving to deliver better and smarter services.

The third priority for transport is to help reduce New Zealand’s road toll. The road toll has a huge social and economic impact on the country. People lose family, friends, and members of their communities. The cost is estimated at $3.8 billion a year. Such high levels of death and injury do not have to be an inevitable part of our road system in the future, but we need to continue to work hard in this area to make a lasting difference. Implementing the Safer Journeys action plan is the key initiative this year to get us on track to making our roads safer for all New Zealanders.

The Ministry of Transport, as the government’s principal adviser on transport matters, plays a crucial role in helping the government create and implement transport policy necessary to deliver on these priorities. Considerable progress has been made in lifting transport’s contribution to economic growth and productivity, but given the Christchurch earthquake-related tasks ahead, making the right policy decisions around transport infrastructure will be more important than ever.

This Statement of Intent sets out what the Ministry will be doing to support the government and how it plans to go about it. I am satisfied the Statement of Intent reflects my expectations of the Ministry.

Ministerial Statement of Responsibility

I am satisfied that the information on future operating intentions provided by my department in this Statement of Intent and the Information Supporting the Estimates is in accordance with sections 38, 40 and 41 of the Public Finance Act 1989 and is consistent with the policies and performance expectations of the government.

Hon Steven Joyce
Responsible Minister for Ministry of Transport

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