Te hau mārohi ki anamata: Transitioning to a low emissions and climate resilient future
The AA submitted on Te hau mārohi ki anamata – the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan discussion document. The AA supports a number of the proposed transport initiatives but considers there needs to be sharper distinction between what solutions are practical both between urban and rural areas and between different parts of our cities. We expressed strong concern that motorists could be charged for every kilometre they drive at a rate set to reduce the amount of travel by private vehicles by 20% by 2035 when many of them will have no viable alternatives. We support recently announced and planned initiatives to reduce emissions from new vehicles entering our fleet but consider the timeframe in the early years is too ambitious for automotive manufacturers to meet, given the current limited availability of EVs and the small size of the NZ market. We recommended that the almost 18-20 cents per litre motorists are currently paying at the pump (generating just under $1 billion per annum) under the Emissions Trading Scheme be hypothecated to support EV charging infrastructure and biofuels.
Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill
The AA supports the intent of this Bill to achieve a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from light vehicles imported into New Zealand. However, we also have significant concerns that the pace of the proposed reductions are unachievable in the timeframes proposed, primarily because the automotive market in Australasia and internationally is unable to deliver the vehicles required. In our view, if adopted as drafted, the discrepancy between ideal targets and reality is likely to result in the failure of the policy, with no emissions reductions, and increased costs to motor vehicle purchasers.
Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Rule (No 2) 2021
The AA's submission supported the rule which revokes the 5-year expiry date that had been introduced to learner and restricted licences in 2014, as the time-limited licence had failed in its goal of encouraging drivers to move onto the next stage of licence. However, 'pooling' on restricted and learner licences will remain the same problem it was when it warranted action in 2014. Our submission calls on the government, as part of their driver licensing reviews, to show a greater sense of urgency and develop targeted and effective policies to address the problem of people not progressing through the Graduated Driver Licensing System gaining skills and experience as intended.
Infracom Infrastructure for a Better Future
The AA agrees that many of the issues raised by the Infrastructure Commission are significant and worth discussing. That said they involve numerous agencies and institutions and are also being discussed in many other quarters. We have proposed a range of measures which we believe lie in the hands of the Infrastructure Commission itself which if carried out would add significant value to the work of other agencies. These are mostly to do with benchmarking and knowledge dissemination. We have also provided views on some of the key questions the Infrastructure Commission has posed which relate to the AA’s role as a member-based motoring organisation.
Transport Emissions Pathways to Net Zero by 2050
The AA recently provided a submission to the Ministry of Transport on their consultation paper "Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ait e iwi: Transport Emissions Pathways to Net Zero by 2050". The AA limited its response to 6 of the 13 questions posed. Our response covered the principles, alternative mode of transport, demand management, other actions to transition the light and heavy fleets more quickly, comment on the four potential pathways identified, and our views on what should be considered in the first emissions budget period.
Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits
The AA’s submission outlined our overall support for the proposed Rule, in particular the proposals to: shift to a new approach to setting speed limits; roll out lower speed limits around schools; allow road controlling authorities to set 70km/h and 90km/h speed limits, and; remove barriers to setting variable speed limits for safety purposes. Meanwhile, the submission also outlines the AA’s concerns with the proposed Rule as currently drafted, such as: it may result in a reduction in meaningful public engagement in speed limit setting; the evidence base for determining speed limits needs to be reviewed, and; with the shift towards more ‘guiding’ speed limits, along with more speed limits being available to road controlling authorities, without moves to better signal speed limits there may increasingly be instances of motorists questioning the speed limit in any given location.
Select Committee inquiry into congestion pricing
In March, the Transport and Industrial Relations select committee began an inquiry into how congestion pricing could work in Auckland. The NZAA’s submission indicates our support for further investigation of congestion pricing, on the basis that it has the potential to deliver significant potential benefits for Auckland’s transport system. However it also made clear that AA Members are dubious about congestion pricing and haven’t been convinced that it makes sense for Auckland. We outlined that further work is needed to determine whether the case for congestion pricing stacks up, and if it does, an in-depth and meaningful public engagement process will be needed to communicate the benefits and costs to Aucklanders so that they can form a view on whether it should be taken forward.
Proposed changes to Queen St (Auckland)
In May, Auckland Transport consulted the public on proposed changes to vehicle access on Queen Street. The AA is of the view that a more engaging, pedestrian-oriented central city is one that resonates with most Aucklanders. However, we believe any such changes to Queen Street must be well-reasoned and practical and need to be delivered in a way that minimises the impact on other areas of the transport network. Through our submission, we shared our view with Auckland Transport that the current proposal falls well short on these points and the approach requires fundamental changes before being taken forward.
Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill
The focus of the AA on this issue is around the deterrence and removal of drug impaired drivers from the road, not the wider issue of drug use in society. This is a complex issue but overall we feel the approach set out in the Bill strikes the right balance to enable meaningful enforcement action against drivers who are impaired by drugs while having safeguards in place to ensure individual’s rights and freedoms are protected. We believe the ultimate outcome this Bill will contribute to is changing behaviour through deterrence. We support the provision in the Bill retaining the option for Police to use a Compulsory Impairment Test (CIT) if an officer believes a driver is impaired by some other type of drug that would not be detected by an oral fluid test (eg. prescription medications). Our regular rolling surveys of NZAA Members have consistently shown extremely high support of 95+% for the introduction of saliva-based roadside drug testing.
Climate Change Commission Draft Advice
Submission to Climate Change Commission responding to its draft advice to Government. As per the Commission's request, our focus is on evidence and critique in order to improve the Commission's work. We find the supply of right-hand-drive electric vehicles is likely to be much more constrained than the Commission projects and propose New Zealand examines the example of Finland in pursuing biofuels so that the emissions of the existing fleet can be dampened down over a longer transition to electric vehicles. We note that most transport emissions' growth is focused in a few high population growth areas and that congestion exacerbates emissions growth. We suggest better congestion management would have a greater mitigation effect than expensive mode shift projects in the short to medium term while vehicles rely on fossil fuels.