Transport is central to the success of our economy and society...

As a trading nation, New Zealand is farther from the economic centres of the world than any other country. As a consequence, transport is a significant cost for our exporters, so we need to ensure the transport system operates as efficiently as possible. The decisions we take on investment and regulatory settings are central to this.

A flexible and resilient transport system that offers greater accessibility responds to changing patterns in demand. It provides improved journey times and reliability — necessary conditions for economic and social development. An effective transport system supports economic growth by:

  • providing access to new and developing markets
  • lowering delivery costs
  • providing reliable delivery times essential for perishable and other higher-value goods, and allowing firms to operate without excess inventories
  • increasing access to skilled labour, and attracting and retaining skilled people in production centres
  • attracting investment as profitable business opportunities expand
  • reducing accidents, deaths and serious injuries.

These outcomes align closely with the government’s priorities for transport.

Transport is also critical to social connectivity — it allows people to participate in society, and access social networks, education, training and health services. Improving such access also lifts skill levels. At the same time, the transport sector has important impacts on the way our urban areas are developed and on the environment — through greenhouse gas emissions, air quality and noise.

While the government’s priorities for the next three years...

The government’s priorities are to responsibly manage the government’s finances, build a more competitive and productive economy, deliver better public services and rebuild Canterbury. The government’s Business Growth Agenda has a specific focus on six key ingredients that businesses need to grow and drive the economy.

Are supported by the work of the Ministry...

The Ministry’s work contributes to all of these priorities. The Ministry oversees approximately $3 billion of government investment in transport infrastructure and services each year through Vote Transport.

The Ministry provides advice to the government on the opportunities for the transport system to increase its contribution to a more competitive and productive economy.

It also supports improved performance across the government transport agencies.

In addition, the Ministry and other agencies are assessing the funding required to rebuild Canterbury’s transport infrastructure.

And our focus on outcomes

Over the next three years, the Ministry will focus on the following six intermediate outcomes:

  • better quality transport regulation and frameworks
  • more open and efficient transport markets
  • improved planning and investment in infrastructure and services
  • decreased transport incidents and other harms
  • improved government transport agencies’ performance
  • improved preparedness for, and management of, shocks and major events.

We need to meet our objectives at a time when New Zealand and the transport system face a number of key challenges

The choices we make over the coming years, as we improve the transport system, will need to occur against the backdrop of:

  • ongoing financial constraint (as a result of the global financial crisis, and New Zealand’s high debt levels)
  • New Zealand’s distance from its major export and tourism partners, and its limited influence on the international maritime and air transport sectors
  • uncertain trading conditions for our exporters in overseas markets
  • significant projected growth in the level of freight movements (freight is expected to double in the next 30 years)
  • major demographic changes including:
    • an ageing population
    • population growth to five million by the mid-2020s
    • growth in Auckland’s population to almost two million by 2031
    • a smaller workforce
  • volatility in fuel prices
  • changes in demand for public transport services
  • improved efficiency of transport vehicles and alternative transport fuels which are expected to impact on revenue levels in the future
  • the uptake of new transport technology that offers opportunities to lift the performance of the transport system.

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