Road Transport Forum News

 
Transport a big factor in election 2020

Transport a big factor in election 2020

Road Transport Forum News

 April 2020    RTF News

Transport and the provision of transport infrastructure are always areas of major policy debate in any election. However, the 2020 general election, more than any other within recent memory, promises to be a contest characterised in part by the different transport plans of our major political parties.

"The infrastructure deficit that has been building over a few decades has become acute and a number of chickens are now coming home to roost," says RTF's Nick Leggett.

"New Zealand seems to have been content to watch our population grow, especially in urban centres – and, with that, the expansion of our economy. However, we have completely failed to provide the necessary investment in infrastructure to cater for this.

"This problem isn't restricted to transport either: Housing and urban development have lagged a long way behind where they need to be and we are also seeing a major deterioration in a lot of our underground infrastructure, hospitals and school buildings.

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Transport and the provision of transport infrastructure are always areas of major policy debate in any election. However, the 2020 general election, more than any other within recent memory, promises to be a contest characterised in part by the different transport plans of our major political parties.
"The infrastructure deficit that has been building over a few decades has become acute and a number of chickens are now coming home to roost," says RTF's Nick Leggett.
"New Zealand seems to have been content to watch our population grow, especially in urban centres – and, with that, the expansion of our economy. However, we have completely failed to provide the necessary investment in infrastructure to cater for this.
"This problem isn't restricted to transport either: Housing and urban development have lagged a long way behind where they need to be and we are also seeing a major deterioration in a lot of our underground infrastructure, hospitals and school buildings.
"RTF's emphasis, of course, is on transport and it is apparent that NZ is severely lagging behind where we need to be – and that is now having an impact on the lives of NZers and the productivity of our economy.
"For those of us who straddle the ground between the coal-face of the industry and government, it is obvious that NZ is at a real fork in the road when it comes to our transport future," says Leggett.
"The visions of the two major parties have never been further apart on transport, and that's without counting the influence of the minor parties – especially those currently in Government – who have staked a lot of political capital on pushing their own transport agendas.
"The recent NZ Upgrade announcement that included $5.5billion of new road building, almost exclusively in the North Island, was the first acknowledgment from this Government that good-quality, modern roads have a significant role to play in a safe and productive transport system.
"Unfortunately, uncertainty was poured over these new roads almost immediately by Associate Minister of Transport and Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter, who made public her view that the roads should not be built. With some of the announced projects having long lead-in times, the message was clear – if the Greens are in a position to form a Government with Labour alone, then it is possible that the roading component of the NZ Upgrade could be shelved."
Leggett says that, in a bid to get some further clarity on exactly where the political parties stand, RTF is organising an election year summit on behalf of a consortium of organisations with an interest in road transport, including the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Bus and Coach Association, Motor Industry Association, Motor Trade Association, NZ Heavy Haulage Association, Crane Association of NZ and the AA.
The Transporting NZ 2020 Election Summit is to be held at
Te Papa, in Wellington, on June 30 and is designed to assist the broader transport, logistics and motor vehicle sectors understand and engage with the various political parties' transport-related policies. Infrastructure, workforce, education, legalising recreational cannabis, and transport's environmental considerations are some of the key issues that will be debated.
"RTF is giving our traditional two-day conference a break this year as we want to focus the industry's attention on the pressing political issues that face the transport sector and the importance of holding politicians to account around election time," says Leggett.
"I hope that operators will consider taking time out of their busy schedules to come to Wellington to participate in the Summit as I think it will provide them with a good understanding of where the various parties are coming from before the election campaign kicks off in earnest."
The plan is to begin the day with a panel of the five main party leaders, or their transport spokespeople, who will outline their policies as well as participate in a panel discussion and questions from the floor.
A panel of political commentators, including Cameron Bagrie and Business NZ's Kirk Hope, will provide some analysis on the various party policies, and the final sessions will be held with industry and economic experts. There will be plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with delegates from across the sector with a morning tea, lunch and the Teletrac Navman cocktail event at the end of the day.
More details, including the day's programme and online registration, are available at transportsummit.org.nz.


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