It’s been a busy week on the political front with some positive announcements for the transport sector.
First up, Wednesday’s announcement from the Minister of
Immigration and Transport Hon Michael Wood that the transport sector will
be eligible for work to residence visas from 29 September 2023 is being
universally welcomed across the industry. This change is a direct result of
ongoing conversations by NRC, Bus & Coach, Waste Associations and NZ
Shipping Federation with the Minister to highlight the urgent immigration
changes needed to enable the sector to attract and keep much needed workers.
Groups benefitting from the 2-year work to residence pathway, assuming they
hold the relevant qualifications, include bus drivers, truck drivers (class 4
& 5 licence), ship’s master (skippers) and deck hands.
Yesterday, I attended the Prime Minister pre-Budget
announcement event hosted by the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA).
The Prime Minister’s personal focus is on ‘living within our means’ with new
spending targeted towards longer-term economic goals – skills, science and
infrastructure. The messages of ‘restraint’ in terms of spending were welcomed
by the business community after witnessing what some call extravagant
Government spending since Covid.
Treasury has estimated the cost of asset damage from the
Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle at between $9 billion and $14.5b and the
Prime Minister’s view is that we need to ‘rebuild quickly and more strongly’. I
asked the Prime Minister what he saw as the key changes needed to fix the
roads? His response was that on top of the additional funding, we need to be
carrying out maintenance at the same time as building new infrastructure into
the network. As I said in my interview
this morning with Corin Dann on Radio NZ, getting the funding is the easy bit
working out how and where it is spent is key – and getting it done more
efficiently and quicker needs to be a priority.
James flew the NRC flag last night at the unveiling of
Holcim New Zealand’s new low-carbon cement replacement facility at the Ports of
Auckland. The facility is designed to reduce embodied carbon from the
construction of the built environment and was showcased in conjunction with
Holcim’s new ECOPlanet and ENVIROCore lower carbon products. Every year around
1.6 million tonnes of traditional cement is used in New Zealand including
across our road network. This is equivalent to approximately 1.3 million tonnes
of CO2, by replacing cement with a product which has lower embodied carbon, but
similar properties, construction-related embodied carbon can be significantly
reduced. ECOPlanet can reduce embodied carbon by more than 30% compared to
general purpose cement and the move illustrates some real progress in terms of
helping Aotearoa move towards a low-carbon and circular economy.
Have a great weekend.
CEO | National Road Carriers Assn
‘Supporting those who choose to make a living in the Road Transport Industry’ since 1936’