The Canterbury Mayoral Forum and the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee are concerned with the potential lack of funding proposed for Canterbury in the Draft 2024 Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.
Nigel Bowen, Chair of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum and Peter Scott, Chair of the Regional Transport Committee said that although they support the overall direction of the Draft GPS, in particular the inclusion of two significant road projects for Canterbury, the funding available nationally does not adequately reflect the needs of the region.
“We’re pleased the draft GPS includes the Christchurch Northern Link, which includes the Woodend Bypass, and a second Ashburton Bridge, both of these projects will increase safety, increase access and provide economic benefits to the region and national economy.
“However, when compared with population and GDP, we consider the overall funding increase available for Canterbury in the draft GPS to be inadequate,” Mayor Bowen says.
The Canterbury region represents approximately 12 percent of New Zealand by population, but 13 percent of national gross domestic product, and over 16 percent of the national roading network by length. For the 2021-24 period, Canterbury only received between 5-8 per cent of forecast NLTP expenditure – something Mayor Bowen and Chair Scott would like to see double in the 2024-27 period.
“Furthermore, from what has been proposed, it looks like there will be a drop-off in funding after three years, and we remain deeply concerned about the medium to long-term land transport funding situation in New Zealand,” Mayor Bowen says.
Chair Scott said the GPS was an important piece of legislation that informed the Regional Land Transport Plan for Canterbury, however it could change with a new government.
“It’s important to get the GPS right so that it reflects our long-term vision for the region and supports important projects that we need to get off the ground.
“We feel that a number of important projects and outcomes for the Canterbury community have been overlooked, and even with substantial additional crown funding, there’s still not enough to support our ongoing aspirations and needs,” Chair Scott says.
Mayor Bowen and Chair Scott agreed that the Future of the Transport Revenue System review needed to be progressed with urgency, in time for the 2027-30 National Land Transport Programme period, to support the region’s legislative planning obligations.
“The decisions of the GPS will impact our ratepayers, so it’s important that we have clear direction – and fast – so that we can engage with the community as soon as possible,” Chair Scott says.