In early February I attended the Local Government NZ Transport Congress, it was designed to determine local government transport priorities over the next three years. There were a number of interesting presentations (see three below) – Martin Mathews (CEO, Ministry of Transport) had a particularly interesting presentation focusing on upcoming challenges including peak oil and rapidly rising fuel costs, climate change and new technology – he said it was a ‘no brainer’ that these realities need to be factored into future transport planning scenarios.
The outcome of it all was LGNZ President Lawrence Yule took some leadership and decided LGNZ would establish a working group to refine LGNZ positions based on feedback coming out of the Congress. There was a strong focus on sustainable transport funding and maintenance over new build, also surprisingly for nearly all participants there was acknowledgement that in the face of rising fuel costs and reducing central government support for roading, communities might need to change their expectations and there was little call for more money and rather a focus on how to spend what is available better. There were still tensions between metro authorities focus on public transport and things like cycleways – and provincial councils focus on rural road maintenance but the divisions were apparently no where near as stark as they have been in the past. Rural councils were accepting that not every back road is going to get sealed and metro councils agreed there needed to be ongoing support for local roads that contribute a lot of value to the national economy. There was strong opposition to the Minister’s prioritising so called ‘Roads of National Significance’.
- Martin Mathews – MoT CEO, Presentation
- Geoff Dangerfield – LGNZ Presentation
- Barry Kidd – LGNZ Presentation