The politicians that appeared at the Transporting New Zealand conference in June. From left, Shane Jones (New Zealand First), Simeon Brown (National), Julie Anne Genter (Green Party), Simon Court (ACT) and Helen White (Labour) with compere Josie Pagani.

Less than eight weeks after road transport body Transporting New Zealand called on all political parties to make transport a top priority in this year’s election, it appears most of the major players agree it should be.

Transporting New Zealand interim chief executive Dom Kalasih says he is pleased to hear the start of fresh, more innovative and proactive thinking on investing in roading.

“The movement of freight and people is vital to our lives and our economy both domestically and internationally. Food, medicine, fuel, livestock, building materials, in fact almost anything you can think of relies heavily on road transport so a quality, reliable network that enables that to happen in a safe and efficient way is critical to our success.”

“We’ve seen the terrible disruption to people lives created by recent natural disasters such as the flooding in Northland and Cyclone Gabrielle, and climate experts are predicting this will only get worse. We’ve also seen a deterioration in road surface quality across our network.”

“Things aren’t working and we simply won’t survive if we can’t reliably move people and freight. Given the importance of this it would be irresponsible for any government not to be seriously committing to make positive changes. “

Transporting New Zealand’s patience with the overdue release of the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport ended last week and it called on Transport Minister David Parker for an update.

Kalasih says: “We agree with the recent talk and thinking on changes to the current allocation of National Land Transport Fund.

“The targeted approach to speed management in high-risk areas, rather than blanket speed reduction that we’ve called for in our Road Transport Industry Platform for the 2023 General Election is just one example of the positive direction.

“It’s also extremely pleasing to hear the thinking and recognition that we need additional funding like Public-Private Partnerships and new Crown funding.”

“It is unfortunate we’ve gone through a significant period where there isn’t much confidence in the pricing and timely delivery of roading projects but we believe those issues can be remedied.

“We also recognise that even if road construction and road maintenance projects are well managed, we are talking about tens of billions of dollars which is a significant amount of money.”

“For those concerned about that large spend I’d ask them to think about the risk to peoples’ lives and our future generations if we don’t allocate and spend that money well.”