ACC 2018 levy consultation
The ACC levy consultation for 2019-21 proposes a small increase to motor vehicle levies, including raising the petrol levy by 1.9 cents per litre, as well as scrapping the Vehicle Risk Rating (VRR) scheme. The AA’s submission suggested it was not a good time to raise petrol tax when prices were at near all-time highs compared to relatively low vehicle licence levies. The AA also opposed scrapping VRR because we support the principle of ACC motor vehicle levies reflecting the inherent safety of light passenger vehicles. We said that VRR has helped raise public awareness about vehicle safety and educate motorists that at any given budget, not all cars are equal in regards to safety. We also said that VRR is an important component of the government’s Safer Journeys strategy and will help improve road safety by improving the safety of the vehicle fleet. The AA also supported proposals to give a rebate to motorcyclists who undergo a Ride Forever course.
Productivity Commission – Low-emissions economy draft report
The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on transitioning to a low-emissions economy, which contains a number of recommendations across all sectors of the economy, including transport. These include developing a fuel economy standard for vehicles entering the fleet and introducing a feebate to support the uptake of electric vehicles, and using road pricing to reduce congestion. While the AA’s submission broadly supports many of the transport-related initiatives the Commission recommended, as behavioural change is at the core of a transition to a low-emissions economy, we cautioned the Commission that significant consultation and education of the public must first take place before any of its recommendations can be implemented. Our submission also contains a summary of AA member survey data on transport use and attitudes to climate change.
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s draft Investment Assessment Framework
The draft Investment Assessment Framework (IAF) gives effect to the Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) by interpreting the desired results set out into criteria for assessment and prioritisation of transport projects. The AA’s submission outlined: support for further investigation into ways to increase investment in transport safety but noted caution about making changes to the cost benefit analysis approach without detailed analysis and understanding of the impacts of doing so; support for consistent application of the One Network Road Classification system and development of consistent national levels of service for public transport, walking and cycling; concern that the Speed Management Guide isn’t being consistently implemented across the country and a call for this to be better resourced to enable it to be nationally applied.
The draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) 2018
The draft GPS 2018 sets out the Government’s strategy to guide land transport investment for the next 10 years. The AA’s submission outlined: the AA’s concerns with funding rail and rapid transit from the National Land Transport Fund (notably due to affordability and equity issues); conditions that must be met if the Government decides to raise fuel taxes; the AA’s concerns with the proposal to reduce the amount of funding that’s available for State Highway investment; and the AA’s support for the Government’s commitment to improving safety and accessibility, reducing the adverse effects that the transport system has on the climate, local environment and people’s health, and the emphasis the Government is placing on delivering value for money. Our submission included findings of an AA Member survey that was developed to get specific feedback on the content of the draft GPS.
Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill
This Bill proposes to enable a regional council to introduce a regional fuel tax (RFT) of up to 10 cents per litre (cpl) for up to 10 years. While any regional council could apply to introduce a RFT if it meets certain criteria, under this Bill only Auckland Council is permitted to do so before 2021 (expected to be introduced on 1 July 2018). While the AA is open to a RFT in Auckland (although AA Member support is far from overwhelming), we do not support RFTs being enabled in any other region, which don’t have the population base to raise meaningful revenue, nor the infrastructure shortfall that Auckland has. The AA is also concerned about the risk of price spreading outside the boundary, and suggests the Bill should require fuel prices to be closely monitored. We also recommend that any proposal for a RFT must be for a transport project that has been included in the relevant Regional Land Transport Plan, and that the proposal also include an estimate of the costs of administering the scheme.
Auckland Long Term Plan 2018
The AA’s submission on the Long Term Plan (LTP) and Auckland Plan refresh noted it was unclear how the transport projects that Auckland Council wants to deliver will help to address congestion, which is the number one concern of AA Auckland members. We said that the LTP and the Auckland Plan should outline what Auckland Council will do to manage congestion, and we recommend this involves identifying congestion targets in order to track progress. Our submission also included a summary of an AA Member survey on the introduction of an Auckland regional fuel tax.