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Measured response needed on NZTA

Measured response needed on NZTA

NZ Truck & Driver News

 November 2019   
While it's clear that the Government needs to take action on the regulatory role of the New Zealand Transport Agency, it needs to be a "measured response," says Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett.

Documents released by the Government, detailing the past performance of the regulator and its monitoring agency, "make for sober reading," says Leggett – noting the tension between the NZTA's regulatory, infrastructure and investment roles.

Says Leggett: "Our view is that road safety is about more than just a strong regulatory approach – you need infrastructure and investment to ensure safe roads in the first place. 

"The behaviour of drivers and professional operators is one thing, but if the infrastructure they're using is not safe, it's academic – accidents are going to happen.

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While it's clear that the Government needs to take action on the regulatory role of the New Zealand Transport Agency, it needs to be a "measured response," says Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett.
Documents released by the Government, detailing the past performance of the regulator and its monitoring agency, "make for sober reading," says Leggett – noting the tension between the NZTA's regulatory, infrastructure and investment roles.
Says Leggett: "Our view is that road safety is about more than just a strong regulatory approach – you need infrastructure and investment to ensure safe roads in the first place. 
"The behaviour of drivers and professional operators is one thing, but if the infrastructure they're using is not safe, it's academic – accidents are going to happen.
"We would like to see a measured response to these reports that balances the roles of the NZTA. We don't want to see a pendulum swing into over-regulation and more expense put on road users to pay for that over-regulation.
"The reports show there has not been the right regulatory experience at governance and senior leadership levels, which is not unexpected. We want to see empowerment of the staff who do have this experience to be able to use good judgement and decisionmaking. Governance should always sit above that operational level anyway.
"We also want to see a return to good data gathering to inform strategy and practice. The reports show there is a lack of data integrity and a good regulator needs good data. Evidence-based decisionmaking from accurate and informative data is what we expect to see from government agencies."
Leggett says the RTF agrees in principle with the Government's initial response to the recommendations – to develop a new regulatory strategy and operating model; establish a Statutory Director of Land Transport; refresh the NZTA's regulatory objectives, functions and powers; strengthen regulatory capability on the NZTA board; and review regulator coordination and cohesiveness.
"However, we have some concerns about what the reality will be of the role of the Statutory Director of Land Transport and the Government's proposal to spend $45million initially and recovering costs in future via the National Land Transport Fund.
"We don't want all the eggs going into the regulatory basket. It is imperative there is equal weight given to infrastructure and investment. Additional costs on road users are not appropriate in the current economic environment. Business owners are struggling as it is.
"We also don't want to see more compliance functions and costs – quite the opposite. If there can be some streamlining, for example, on the implementation of the health and safety regulations, we would support that."  


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