Some interesting news late yesterday with the NZTA announcing they have hired Fergus Gamie to be their next CEO – which comes after current CEO Geoff Dangerfield announced a few months ago that he would step down from the role. We’ve been waiting with interest to see who would get the role as it’s one that obviously has a massive impact on transport throughout NZ but also has big implications within Auckland as the CEO gets an non-voting seat on the Auckland Transport board. The NZTA having a seat at the AT board was something many criticised originally however from many discussions I’ve had it turned out to be quite a positive thing and instrumental in getting wider support for projects like the CRL.

What’s most interesting about the appointment of Fergus is his background. He was the Chief Executive of the old Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) which ran public transport in Auckland prior to the creation of Auckland Transport. He then became Chief Operating officer of AT to the end of 2011 before he left to take up senior roles at Transport for New South Wales including running their PT system. That’s meant he’s been heavily involved in public transport for many years and locally been involved in projects such as the upgrading of the rail network, the northern busway and integrated ticketing amongst other things.

All of this means we know will have a CEO of the NZTA who has a very strong background in public transport. This isn’t to say the NZTA is about to start focusing exclusively on public transport, obviously a large chunk of it’s focus needs to remain on keeping our state highways working well but hopefully we’ll see the agency step up on PT more. I don’t know who else applied but this does seem like a positive announcement.

On behalf of the NZ Transport Agency Board, Chairman Chris Moller has announced the appointment of Fergus Gammie as the new Chief Executive of the NZ Transport Agency.

Mr Moller says the Board has made this appointment after an international recruitment process that attracted a very strong field of candidates. Mr Gammie will take up his position on 1 March 2016 and the Board is looking forward to working with him in creating transport solutions to meet the Government’s objective of a thriving New Zealand.

“Fergus joins the Transport Agency with a passion for transport and the difference it can make to a country,” says Mr Moller. “He brings to the role deep experience in the transport sector both here and in Australia.”

Mr Gammie is a former Chief Executive of Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), Chief Operating Officer of Auckland Transport, Deputy Director General Transport Services of Transport for New South Wales and currently Deputy Secretary Infrastructure & Services with the same organisation. In this latter capacity he is responsible for leading a team of 1,300 staff, managing an annual operating budget of A$5 billion and infrastructure and systems projects totalling A$11 billion over the next four years.

Mr Gammie holds a BA from Victoria University in Wellington and a Certificate in Management from Henley Management College.

A native Kiwi, Mr Gammie commented, “I am delighted to be returning home to a role and organisation that makes a significant contribution to New Zealand.”

With strong relationship skills and an ability to engage and build rapport, Mr Gammie will bring a good mix of leadership, inspiration, operational experience, technical breadth and long-term thinking to the land transport sector in New Zealand.

Mr Gammie’s appointment follows the decision of Geoff Dangerfield to step down as CE, effective 18 December.

“The Board is very grateful for the dedicated service and the consistently high results which Geoff has delivered over the past seven years,” said Mr Moller. “The Board is confident that Geoff leaves the Transport Agency with the right strategy in place and in very good shape.”

Transport Agency Group Manager for Planning and Investment Dave Brash will act as CE over the interim period from 18 December until Mr Gammie takes up his role on 1 March 2016. There will be no loss of momentum in respect of Transport Agency deliverables during this period.

Share this

30 comments

    1. He also heads up the Planning and Investment part of NZTA, which most people say is pretty onto it. They just keep getting screwed by HNO.

    2. Externalities?! NZTA operate in a world that doesn’t consider CO2 omissions (let alone community severance, traffic noise, air pollution, roads too unsafe or unpleasant to walk or cycle, etc.) NZTA deems such externalities as intangible and hence these things are not included their BCR calculations. They treat time savings and vehicle operating costs as real simply because you can easily put a price tag on those.

      It becomes rather perverse… what is real (air quality,noise, road danger causing children to be driven to school, etc.) is treated as not being real, and what are man-made artificial constructs (time & monetary savings; which are typically over-inflated predictions) are treated as real.

  1. Are there a lot of small things that could make a big difference ? Such as in Australia buses have signs at the rear “give way when indicating”. This gives buses priority when re-entering the traffic stream after picking up passengers at a bus stop. It means the bus doesn’t miss a whole traffic light cycle waiting for a gap in the traffic.

    1. Yes, I agree with this in general; a whole lot of small nudges can accumulate into a great big shove over time, especially in the context of things happening concurrently, like the infrastructure investment. And doubly so in a zeitgeist that is open to change as is clearly the case right now.

      And in particular, I agree with this one, buses used to have this feature in Auckland; where did the signs go? Whose decision was it it to remove them? It’s something I always do when driving, anyway.

        1. No it’s not (although it should be); giving way to buses is simply a courtesy at present, regardless of any signage. You can’t impede any light rail vehicles though – if we had any…

  2. Fergus’ PT pedigree goes back even further, in the 80’s he worked at the Urban Transport Council, the funding body for PT prior to Transit NZ and the “deregulation” of PT in 1991

  3. I really don’t know if a new face will change much. NZTA have a problems with Aucklands motorways at the moment being consistently terrible from Otahuhu to Greenlane all day practically and the cluster that is the Constellation Drive on and off ramps, the on being more or less clogged all day. And then there is the entire North Western.

    How he will sort out this self fulfilling proficy that are these motorways I know not but what I do know, using these almost everyday, is NZTA has a model that is broken and there are no alternaives because the idiots in government have put all their eggs in one basket!

  4. Fingers crossed that Fergus will lead a more balanced approach but he will still be dancing to the government’s tune. Within months of taking office in late 2008 Steve Joyce had appointed yes-men to head both NZTA and the MOT to implement his ideologically driven RONs policy, funded by sucking money out of PT and local roading budgets. Given that Government policy has not noticeably changed in the last 7 years, we need to wait a little while to see whether the advent of Fergus presages at least some softening of the current one dimensional policy setting.

  5. I recall an MOT officer who attended ARC’s Land Transport Strategy working groups somewhat apologetically saying “we are but the servants of the government of the day” personal opinions and sympathies count for little

  6. As a regular user of the Southern Motorway on a commercial basis, I have found that the flows on the motorway, in the traditional directions (into town in the morning and away from town in the afternoon) have freed up considerably lately. I don’t know whether this is because more people are using the trains, or there just isn’t the traffic on the motorway at present. Not so for flows in the opposite direction though, that is crap – to be charitable. I wonder if that could have something to do with the fact that there aren’t all that many trains going in that direction. I suppose with only so many trains to go around, the emphasis is to concentrate them on the traditional flows.

  7. PT works well into dense walkable destinations such as the CBD. However, there are few destinations in the south that are walking distance from the nearest train station. Furthermore, the 2 main PT-serviced destinations – Middlemore Hospital and Manukau – would tend to service users further out in the suburbs than on the CBD side of town,

    1. Malcolm, those millions of new journeys being taken on the rail network, including south and east, show that people do somehow manage to get to those stations. This year the rail network has been adding 1 million new trips every four months!

      Expanding the catchment of the stations is important, however, and as Nick so succinctly put it above the plan is to do that with buses, hence the New Network and the new interchange stations; Otahuhu, Man City, Pukekohe.

      Additionally centring walking and cycling upgrades on stations is vital too. Work is happening at New Lynn and Glen Innes to improve this.

      Could more be done? Always. There’s possibilities and plans for every station; even including Britomart and Newmarket. Time and money is all that’s needed.

  8. As a tradie who spends countless hours stuck in traffic it’s not hard to work out that many of the cars on the rd really don’t need to be there and it would by offering a better alternative to those drivers we can cut right back on congestion. As an example yesterday I had a job in Devonport which meant crawling down Lake rd for what seemed like for ever, surely instead of bulldozing dozens of houses at a huge cost we could get AT or another firm on a set contract to take over the Devonport ferry and drop the price down to $3 or $4 each way instead of the current $12. At that price you would probably double ferry patronage and drop congestion on Lake rd and by having a more pro pt head of transport I’m sure he will see things that way.

  9. And then there are those in Devonport that can well afford the ferry at current prices and yet choose to drive.
    Unfortunately the bus service is appalling. I suspect the answer is to intensify housing along Lake Road, as recently proposed and then that will justify running efficient public transport in a bus lane.

  10. Looks like Gammie’s got the last laugh. Overlooked for the CEO job when AT started, and only got crappy 2nd tier role. Not happy and pi**ed off to ozzie. Not surprised to come back home to give the two fingers.

    1. Good call, hopefully Fergus can help David Warburton make AT more effective at prioritizing PT & active modes over single occupancy private vehicles. Sometimes I see separate AT advertisements for PT and car parking on the same spread in the paper, they’re just so confused.

      1. C’mon pal, you really think he’s back to help PT, AT, whatever.. ? A career politician will forever be a career politician.
        He’s got what he wanted. It just took a little while longer.

        1. Going by my interactions with Fergus, David Warburton and Geoff Dangerfield, I’ve found Fergus to be the best to deal with and definitely the least “career politician” of the three. Whilst it is true that these public servants have to answer to the Government of the day, I do expect a much more rigorous and robust approach to transport investment rather than the current deceitful processes which have been designed to prioritize more roading no matter what they cost.

  11. Pardon the thread hijack, but does anyone know what there is in Sue Moroney’s background to suit her for Labour spokesperson on Transport and why this portfolio isn’t sufficient to have a seat on the front bench?

    1. Phil T will still cover Auckland, and of course the opposition has Julie-Ann Genter, who is very effective in the house and really knows the subject (being a transport planner by trade and training). In fact I suspect that this positioning is the clearest sign yet that transport is one ministry that Lab would be happy to let the Greens lead in any coalition….?

      1. agreed that Julie-Ann is quality, how far Labour and the Greens would share top rank portfolios remains to be seen, but it was good to see Phil Twyford at the Bike Auckland launch

    2. She (along with the rest of the Moroney family) is heavily involved in horse-racing, if that counts as transport 😉

      But in all seriousness, Phil Twyford will be spokesman for transport as it relates specifically to Auckland, and he’s on the front bench. At number 4, no less.

Leave a Reply