It’s been an eventful year for National Road Carriers (NRC) with significant changes to the structure of the organisation well navigated by experienced industry leader James Smith, NRC’s Chief Operating Officer, while we searched for our new CEO. Friday night’s AGM provided a great opportunity for our new CEO, Justin Tighe-Umbers, to meet with members ahead of his official 15 August start date.
Feedback from members in the recent survey was clear, they expect us to have a single-minded focus on the issues that keep them up at night. The list is long and includes rising costs of fuel and labour, roading and infrastructure failure, shortage of skilled workers, compliance, climate change, the pandemic and supply chain crisis.
Advocating for members on these issues is our top priority. Making sure NRC is equipped to do this moving forward has been central to how we have shaped the new business and communications strategy. It is why we seconded experts to the Board and partnered with the Hon Simon Bridges to Chair the newly formed Transport and Logistics Advisory Group.
The AGM was well supported with 185 attendees taking the opportunity to gain more insight into the new strategic direction the organisation is taking. As part of the new strategy Simon took the opportunity to speak to members about leaning into what the industry is going to be facing over the next few years and issued a challenge to NRC members to focus on the ‘big issues’.
He challenged the industry to focus in on the big issues affecting the industry such as talent, poor roading, low infrastructure investment and climate change. Taking solutions to decision-makers needs to be a priority and doing so in a collaborative way to ensure positive outcomes is important. Simon talked about the fact the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) is funded by road users and gets billions into its kitty every year, and if well invested consistently over time would significantly improve roading. But even a cursory glance shows the fund is not being well spent.
Compounding this, the fund was originally intended to improve roading, but it is now going towards public transport subsidies and rail – with the predictable outcome of repeated under-investment leading to more roading in disrepair and an increase in road accidents.
Simon also touched on other issues such as the shortage of labour and talent. He acknowledged that this is an example of an issue that is being felt internationally and across sectors, but felt New Zealand has particular factors that are making it more painful such as unnecessary Government regulation, Covid rules, and restrictive travel and immigration settings – addressing these issues must be a priority for NRC and its members.
Members attending the AGM also had an opportunity to listen to Lance Burdett who spent 22 years as a police officer, becoming New Zealand’s lead crisis negotiator after training with the elite tactical units of Police, Corrections, Fire, Military, and the FBI.
Lance gave advice on how building personal resilience needs to be a focus for business owners, acquiring tools to help manage workplace stress and burnout are critical for managing the stress we experience through work, family or from situations we believe are beyond our control. Becoming more mindful, or having an awareness of the present moment, as a way of reducing stress and increasing wellbeing.
Following the successful AGM, the Board for 2022/2023 is John Baillie, Ian Newey, Don Wilson, Calven Bonney, Steve Doughty, Corey Burnett, Glen MacKay, along with new Board Member Pamela Bonney, and Shafraz Khan who continues in his role providing specialist strategic support. The Chair and Deputy Chair will be announced following the first Board meeting post-AGM and these details will be shared with members accordingly.