Justin's Transport Minute

Roading as an election issue? Why it’s not necessarily great news…

In many ways having road transport front and centre of the election is exactly where we don’t want to be. The reason roading is an election issue is because the network is failing, and everyone has had enough. NRC members have been pointing this out over the last 30 years until they were blue in the face. Finally, now that the deterioration is impossible to hide, everyone else has caught up. So yes, we are very happy with the coverage. NRC has worked hard to get roading in the headlines, and, more importantly, on political party policy manifestos. Finally politicians are responding, because they know the public’s patience has run out. But we would much rather not be here.

This week on the radio I talked to Sean Plunket, and said that transport operators just want it fixed, and out of the election cycle. There are increasing reasons to be optimistic. National and ACT have released strong transport policies, focussed on roading. We expect other parties that want to show credibility will follow suit. On Monday, James Smith our General Manager of Policy and Advocacy attended the National Party transport policy launch at the Waikato Chamber of Commerce. There Christopher Luxon, Simeon Brown and Chris Bishop launched their policy, centred on 13 roads of national significance, key resilience works including upgrading Napier to Taupo and Napier to Gisborne, and a Brynderwyn bypass. The South Island will see upgraded transport infrastructure in Ashburton, Queenstown, Otago and Southland. I met with Chris Bishop, National’s Infrastructure spokesman, who talked about how these roads will unlock productivity and efficiency.

Next week I’ll be interviewing Simon Court, ACT’s transport spokesman, on the ACT Party transport policy, as part of our NRC election webinar series. You can register for the webinar here, and send in any questions you’d like answered. In September we’ll have Simeon Brown, the National Party’s Transport spokesman in the webinar series, this invitation will be coming soon.

Lastly, the keen-eyed among you will have noticed a change in James Smith’s job title. One of my remits from the Board as CEO has been to get National Road Carriers match fit to meet the challenges the roading industry will be facing into the 2020s, and beyond. We’ve had the bonnet up, and are looking at our organisation structure, capacity and capability – road testing it to make sure it meets our service promise to our members and commercial partners. I’m delighted to announce two important appointments for NRC:

  • James Smith has taken up the role of General Manager – Policy and Advocacy, which more accurately reflects his role as NRC’s road transport technical and regulatory expert, working closely with NZTA, the Ministry of Transport and many other agencies.
  • James Perrin is taking up the role of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the day-to-day management of team, relationships with commercial partners, and meeting member needs.

This is a hugely exciting time for the NRC team, and a key part of our strategy to continue to build NRC and meet your needs as New Zealand’s leading road transport association.

Have a great weekend


CEO | National Road Carriers Assn

DDI: +64 9 636 2951 | E: justin.tighe-umbers@natroad.co.nz | www.natroad.co.nz

‘Supporting those who choose to make a living in the Road Transport Industry’ since 1936’