20 August 2008

Transport Agency focused on state highways

Yes, a cursory visit to the website of the Labour led government's latest bureaucratic creation - the NZ Transport Agency, shows that the merger between Land Transport NZ and Transit New Zealand has created an agency that primarily puts out press releases about - state highways.

This is the agency that manages driver licencing, is contracted to collect Road User Charges, manage the National Land Transport Account (where all motoring taxes go), and allocate funding to itself (!) to manage state highways, and to local authorities to build and maintain local roads, and subsidise public transport.

When National was last in power it took away responsibility for looking after funding decisions on roads from Transit by creating Transfund - largely so that a bureaucracy wasn't funding itself over the roads of local authorities. The intention was also to make Transfund responsible for managing motoring taxes so that it could be "buying road services" on behalf of motorists, a precursor to allowing tolling and other direct ways for the public to buy road services from road providers.

Labour rejected all that in favour of central planning and now there is one behemoth of a bureaucracy contracted to collect much of the motoring taxes, allocate money from those motoring taxes and build things with it, oh and in the meantime do it really really efficiently, and spend money on roads its not responsible for.

Oh and Christine Caughey, who wants Wikipedia and blogs state regulated, is on its board.

Now this is surely something that the Nats can reverse and get back to moving road management towards users paying for services, rather than Ministers directing decisions?

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