Leading the development of better quality transport regulation and framework

Better quality regulation is important to the government

Well-functioning markets need both good regulation and good regulators. This section addresses the issue of ‘good regulation’, while ‘good regulators’ is addressed under the intermediate outcome ‘Improved government transport agencies’ performance’.

Improving the quality of regulation and removing any unnecessary regulation is an important part of the government’s economic programme. It will enhance New Zealand’s productivity growth and international competitiveness.

Regulation directly affects how markets, and firms in those markets, operate and allocate resources. Regulation can support markets operating effectively and reduce anti-competitive practices. Poor quality regulation can constrain growth by creating incentives for socially and economically unproductive activities and increasing the costs of doing business.

Across the world, governments are revisiting their approaches to regulation. As a sector, transport can make changes to create new and innovative ways of tackling policy problems.

Lifting the quality of transport regulation will help markets to function well by ensuring:

  • regulatory costs and changes are minimised, so businesses and others are not burdened by unnecessary compliance costs or outdated regulation
  • transport regulation is well understood and compliance is maximised.

The Ministry's role is 'better quality regulation’

The Ministry’s role is to promote transport regulation and frameworks that represent good practice. It supports the government to achieve its policy objectives, recognising that sometimes transport Crown entities exercise statutorily independent roles and powers.

The Ministry contracts with the Civil Aviation Authority, Maritime New Zealand and the New Zealand Transport Agency each year for their annual rules development programmes. The Ministry needs to effectively manage the annual regulatory programme with the transport Crown entities. It also needs to ensure regulatory proposals represent the best solution, do not impose unnecessary costs on users and are prepared efficiently and on time.

To deliver better quality regulation and frameworks the Ministry will:

  • increase the efficiency of the transport regulatory system so it does not impose unnecessary costs on users.

Better quality regulation - Ministry impacts and actions

The Ministry’s intended impacts in this area over the next three years, and the projects and activities that will deliver them, include the following:

Impact 1: A more efficient transport regulatory system that does not impose unnecessary costs on users

The Ministry will take a leadership role and work across the transport sector to consider whether the regulatory system is ‘fit-for-purpose’ and, if not, what further opportunities might exist for improving regulatory outcomes. This will involve thinking more broadly about what constitutes regulation and what outcomes the government and sector want from the regulatory system. 

The Ministry’s Regulatory Reform Programme has:

  • identified several key areas for reform
  • streamlined the regulatory design process so it is more efficient and timely
  • brought increased rigour into the rules process so only matters that genuinely require a rule are included in the programme.

The Ministry will establish a programme to periodically review transport legislation and subordinate regulation to ensure that it remains fit-for-purpose. This programme will include an initial assessment of whether particular aspects of the regulatory framework impose unnecessary cost on users.

The Ministry will more actively manage the annual rules programme with the Civil Aviation Authority, Maritime New Zealand and the New Zealand Transport Agency to improve safety and environmental outcomes.

Funding arrangements to Crown entities for the development of transport rules will be reviewed to better align funding with government rule-making priorities. This review will support the Ministry’s Regulatory Reform Programme by ensuring resources are allocated to the highest priority rules work. 

The Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency are reviewing the annual vehicle registration and licensing, transport service licensing, and warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness regimes. This is part of a package of regulatory reform work. The current arrangements have been in place for 20 years and place significant administrative and compliance burdens on households and businesses.

The rationale for some of the systems is not always clear, may no longer exist, or may no longer be justified. It is likely that there are more efficient and simpler ways to administer these regimes, while ensuring the ongoing robustness and safety of the transport system.

The new Road User Charges Act, which comes into force on 1 August 2012, is the first major change to a 30-year-old system. The reforms simplify and modernise the system, remove opportunities for evasion and reduce compliance costs for users of the system. We will support and monitor the implementation of the new system. This includes policy support for New Zealand Transport Agency’s initiatives to modernise the system and further reduce compliance costs for users.

The Ministry will complete a review of the licensing requirements for agricultural vehicles and implement the changes agreed by government. Currently these vehicles have to meet many of the normal regulatory requirements of on-road use, for example hours of use, and this can make operating these vehicles efficiently more difficult. The review will identify opportunities to remove unnecessary regulatory requirements on agricultural vehicles. 

We will review a number of economic, safety and security issues relating to the Civil Aviation Act to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.

We will also review and propose amendments to the Maritime Transport Act to:

  • implement marine environment protection and liability conventions
  • improve port and harbour safety control
  • resolve technical matters affecting the operation of the legislation.


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