Submissions on the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) close at 5pm today. We discussed this document when it was first released back in late February, and to be honest we were not very impressed by it.
The GPS is a really important document in guiding our approach to transport in New Zealand, as it sets key priority areas and broad “funding bands” for how NZTA spends over $3 billion of public money raised every year from fuel taxes, road user charges and vehicle licensing fees.
This is the fifth version of the GPS since legislation was changed in 2008 to require this document. The first GPS was released in August 2008 by the former Labour Government, but it was replace in early 2009 before it could take effect. Subsequent versions of the GPS have been released in 2012 and 2015. It’s possible therefore to compare how the funding bands have changed over time through the various versions of the GPS:
As the total amount of investment increases over time, perhaps more interesting is to look at the share of funding going to each area, taking the “upper limit” across each activity class:
It’s clear from this graph that the government continues to put more and more of its eggs into the state highways basket, despite projects that this enormous investment is going to – like the Kapiti Expressway or the Tauranga Eastern Link – are either making congestion worse or ending up pretty empty.
In an Auckland context, the biggest gaping hole in the GPS (which is picked up in Auckland Council’s submission – from page 127) is the GPS ignoring the “Strategic Public Transport Network” that was outlined in ATAP and providing no clarity on how this network of busways, light-rail and heavy rail upgrades will be funded.
Therefore, some key points you might want to make in your submission are:
- Reduce the dominance of the state highways activity class, with funding reallocated to local roads, public transport and walking & cycling to support a more balanced transport network
- Provide clarity on how Auckland’s strategic public transport network will be progressed and funded
- Bring heavy rail funding into what’s covered by the GPS so that all transport initiatives, regardless of type, can be fairly prioritised and assessed
In the past the government often hasn’t taken much notice of feedback on the GPS, but this year it might well be different as the draft document highlights that it has not yet fully taken ATAP into consideration – therefore the door remains open for some more substantial change than has occurred in the past. So it’s definitely worthwhile taking a few minutes to send in your submission by 5pm today.
You can provide feedback on draft GPS 2018 by emailing [email protected]