Road Transport Forum News

 
Let me  introduce myself...

Let me introduce myself...

Road Transport Forum News

 February 2019    RTF News

When Ken Shirley was first elected to Parliament in 1984, replacing former Prime Minister Bill Rowling in the Tasman seat, he said he couldn't fill Rowling's shoes….but he would try to follow in his footsteps.

The boot is now on my foot – so to speak – as I replace Ken as chief executive of the Road Transport Forum. Ken is synonymous with the RTF in the minds of many and so to immediately step into his shoes would be a very big task.

However, I do wish to follow in his footsteps – and, while I will be different to Ken in many ways, like him, I have a deep appreciation for the road transport industry and the critical role it plays in the New Zealand economy. This appreciation comes from a passion for infrastructure and transport borne out of my own political experiences.

Up until 2016, I was Mayor of Porirua City and a Porirua city councillor before that. I'm proudly born and bred in the city, but like most Kiwis I have some pretty decent Mainland roots and I have always appreciated the huge value that rural and provincial NZ brings to NZ.

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When Ken Shirley was first elected to Parliament in 1984, replacing former Prime Minister Bill Rowling in the Tasman seat, he said he couldn't fill Rowling's shoes….but he would try to follow in his footsteps.
The boot is now on my foot – so to speak – as I replace Ken as chief executive of the Road Transport Forum. Ken is synonymous with the RTF in the minds of many and so to immediately step into his shoes would be a very big task.
However, I do wish to follow in his footsteps – and, while I will be different to Ken in many ways, like him, I have a deep appreciation for the road transport industry and the critical role it plays in the New Zealand economy. This appreciation comes from a passion for infrastructure and transport borne out of my own political experiences.
Up until 2016, I was Mayor of Porirua City and a Porirua city councillor before that. I'm proudly born and bred in the city, but like most Kiwis I have some pretty decent Mainland roots and I have always appreciated the huge value that rural and provincial NZ brings to NZ.
I've been an outspoken champion of roading development for a long time. Within the next couple of years Porirua will have the new Transmission Gully highway running through it, a project that I was a staunch advocate for during my time in local politics. But it isn't just the roads in my patch that I am interested in. I've always taken the view that there is no use in the four-lane highway outside my home being upgraded….if that stops five kilometres up the road.
All that achieves is to simply shift the congestion outside somebody else's house. It doesn't fix the problem, it just moves it. For me, the solution is in a regional and national roading network that builds our nation's capacity to grow and enables our economy to function at its maximum potential.
A key part of my role at RTF will be to engage with politicians and government officials and represent you in the media. I've got experience in both aspects, but I need to be authentic and understand your business realities.
It is a real concern to me that the road transport sector is effectively being used to cross-subsidise economically inefficient alternative and competing modes of transport, like rail. Not only is this manifestly unfair to road transport operators, it doesn't make our nation's waka go faster.
Now that is not to say that there isn't an important place in the NZ transport system for rail, coastal shipping and the various modes of public transport. But, as you've heard many times from Ken, these should exist and compete on the basis of "competitive advantage" only. It makes absolutely no sense to me to be robbing Peter to pay Paul when it comes to moving stuff around.
I also see my new role at RTF as telling the story of a proud industry doing vital work for the NZ economy and our communities. I want to ensure you are appropriately represented at both levels of government. I want RTF's advocacy work to reduce your burden and allow you to continue to do what you do best, which is provide great services to NZers and continue to assist the growth and development of our economic fortunes.
It's pleasing to note that so far, in my early engagements, compliance and regulatory transport officials accept that the road transport industry deserves and requires a coherent and consistent voice at the decisionmaking table. To effectively represent you, I need to meet as many of you as possible, to understand your motivations, your businesses and your aspirations. I'm keen to engage with you, so please don't hesitate to reach out and get in touch – and I am always open to feedback on any issue of interest to you.
I describe road transport as the "good cholesterol" of our economy. It allows vital goods to move around our nation's "bloodstream." While I haven't formed views on all the issues yet, it is fairly obvious to me that you are under-appreciated by many people, especially those who live in our major centres.
The ability to move goods around freely and easily helps maintain and enhance our collective quality of life and ensures Kiwis' livelihoods are protected. My job is to vividly illustrate that story on your behalf and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.


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