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Transport Legislation Bill 1st Reading Speech

Hon Pete Hodgson: Transport Legislation Bill 1st Reading Speech:

Fri, 13 Aug 2004

Transport Legislation Bill 1st Reading Speech

Mr Speaker, I move, that the Transport Legislation Bill 2004 be now read a first time.

Mr Speaker, it is my intention to move, at the appropriate time, that the Transport Legislation Bill be referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee for consideration, and that the Committee report by 29 October 2004, and that the Committee have the authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting, except during oral questions, and during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, and on a Friday in a week in which there has been a sitting of the House, and outside the Wellington area on a day the House is sitting, despite Standing Orders 191, 193 (a) and 194 (1) (b) and (c). This Bill is a culmination of this government's work to structure the transport sector so that it can deliver the affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system New Zealand deserves by 2010. It builds upon the New Zealand Transport Strategy and is the enabling legislation for changes made through the recent Government Transport Sector Review.

The Strategy is important in that it moves beyond the narrow focus of the past to a broader vision to provide a truly integrated approach to transport planning and provision in support of wider social, economic and environmental goals.

The strategy set out the government's 5 objectives for transport as:

· assisting economic development · assisting safety and personal security · improving access and mobility · protecting and promoting public health · ensuring environmental sustainability.

This Bill also builds on the Land Transport Management Act 2003 which restructured transport funding arrangements and is the type of legislation you pass when you want more roads and public transport infrastructure to be built.

More recently, this was followed by the Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Act 2004, which enabled the establishment of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and Auckland Regional Holdings. These changes helped to realise the Investing for Growth package announced by the government in December 2003 to address the transport problems of Auckland and the rest of the country. This government will get New Zealand moving again. Through the Government Transport Sector Review we looked at the structure of the sector and how well this was suited to meeting the expanded brief laid out in the Transport Strategy. We found that it was good at delivering against the old brief, but could produce better outcomes for the economy, business, communities and the travelling public if restructured to focus on the delivery of the objectives of the Strategy.

This Bill will enable that restructuring to take place.

Key to this is addressing a number of structural and resourcing issues that were an impediment to providing leadership across the sector rather than on a type by type basis. The review identified opportunities to improve the level of collaboration across agencies in terms of policy development, planning, funding and the delivery of solutions to New Zealand's transport needs in line with the objectives of the Strategy.

The review also identified that the Land Transport Safety Authority, Maritime Safety Authority and Civil Aviation Authority were constrained by too narrow a brief.

In the light of these findings from the Review, this Bill enables:

· the formation of a new agency, Land Transport New Zealand, comprising the operational responsibilities of the Land Transport Safety Authority and Transfund New Zealand following the transferral of policy functions from these two bodies to the Ministry of Transport. The Land Transport Safety Authority and Transfund will be disestablished. · the increasing of the scope of the Maritime Safety Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority to take into account the objectives of the New Zealand Transport Strategy in their work. There is no change to the primary safety responsibilities of these authorities, and

· the integration of the current Safety Administration Programme (which contains $275 million (GST inclusive) in funding for 2003/2004) into the National Land Transport Programme. This safety funding covers a diverse set of outputs, ranging from safety information and promotion to road policing.

The establishment of Land Transport New Zealand will enable a strong multi-objective focus to be taken, closer and more effective linkages to local government, and enhanced regional presence and resourcing and a better integrated approach to land transport planning and delivery.

As a result, local government and local communities alike can expect better understanding of their transport needs and improved responsiveness to them.

The changes in this Bill mainly affect the Ministry of Transport, the Land Transport Safety Authority, and Transfund. There are no major changes to the current structure, activities or staff of Transit NZ, the Maritime Safety Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission or the Aviation Security Service.

Most employees in the agencies affected by these changes will continue in their current roles with some movement between agencies as functions are transferred. No material change is expected to overall staff numbers employed within the sector, however the Ministry of Transport will grow by around 50 employees as policy roles are transferred over from the LTSA and Transfund. The balance of LTSA and Transfund roles will be brought together in Land Transport New Zealand.

National Land Transport Programme funding will not be affected by the changes.

While there are some functional changes and a general expansion of the sector's brief to cover the objectives of the NZTS, there will be no reduction in emphasis placed upon safety.

The Bill includes specific measures designed to improve search and rescue arrangements. The responsible Minister will have the primary responsibility for co-ordination of search and rescue functions among agencies.

The Bill also covers the various related technical amendments to other Acts that are affected by this legislation.

The government intends that New Zealanders should be well served by an integrated, affordable, safe and sustainable transport system as set out through the New Zealand Transport Strategy. There is a need for the government transport agencies, as a whole, to jointly own and contribute to the achievement of the Strategy. This bill provides the institutional arrangements for the government's transport sector agencies that will underpin that Strategy.

This Bill will overcome past fragmentation and enable the sector to take a broader and more collaborative approach to transport planning and management.

I urge members to support the Bill.

ENDS


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