The new draft Government Policy Statement for land transport released yesterday highlights a deeply concerning politicisation of the National Land Transport Fund, says Road Transport Forum Chief Executive Ken Shirley.
“The National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) was set up to be administered by an NZTA board independent of politicians and pork barrel politics and for 20 years it operated relatively free of such political interference.”
“Unfortunately, the new draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) starkly illustrates that those days are well and truly over,” says Shirley.
“The GPS has a significant bearing on the administration and expenditure of the NLTF by determining the priorities for the programs and projects to be undertaken under the Fund. The draft document while heralding the importance of modal neutrality destroys that objective by the cross -subsidisation of road user taxes to fund highly questionable rail and coastal shipping activities that make no contribution to the fund.”
“The increased focus on safety is strongly supported but all evidence indicates that upgrades to the road infrastructure deliver the best safety results. Unfortunately, many of the upgrades in the pipeline will be cancelled or delayed by this new GPS framework which provides an 11% cut in in State Highway improvements.
“Despite our concerns with the draft GPS, RTF looks forward to engaging with the Government on it and making sure that the road users who pay into the NLTF get the best possible outcome for their money and funds are not diverted to pet political projects of dubious worth,” says Shirley.