Road Transport Forum calls on NZTA to act as regulator and target those not following rules

The Road Transport Forum's chief executive Nick Leggett is calling on the New Zealand Transport Agency to act as a regulator rather than having a "whole lot of bureaucrats pushing pens and paper in Wellington".

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The Road Transport Forum’s chief executive Nick Leggett talks about the scathing review of the transport agency. Source: Breakfast

His comments come after a scathing review released yesterday found the country's transport agency, the NZTA, failed to properly regulate the transport sector.

The Ministry of Transport's monitoring of it between 2007 and 2015 was found to have been "not fit for purpose", with Transport Minister Phil Twyford adding that the systemic failure of NZTA's regulatory role had contributed to the "blow out" of deaths and injuries on the roads over the past decade.

The recommendations include putting in another $45 million and 100 new staff to boost the agency's road policing roles, and to create a director of land transport to oversee NZTA's regulatory powers.

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Recommendations include putting another $45 million and 100 new staff to boost the agency’s road policing roles. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Nick Leggett told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning he wasn't surprised by the review, adding that the role of being a core regulator had gotten "lost" in roading investment and overall management in the sector.

He said he would like to see a more cooperative relationship with all industries involved in transport.

"It's about ensuring that they've got the right information, that they're engaged with industry and with the public so that they're getting the education right, but also so that their oversight is correct and that hasn't been the case," he said. "It's the regulator acting as the regulator and it hasn't been."

Mr Leggett also said the agency should be targeting those who aren't following the rules.

"What we want to do is we want to target the willfully non-compliant people - that's the people that I think all New Zealanders want to see. The trucking economy carries our economy on it's back so we don't want to slow down people who are following the rules.

"What we risk doing is getting a whole lot more bureaucrats pushing more pens and paper in Wellington rather than actually educating on 'this is how you follow the rules' and dealing with the people who don't."

However, Mr Leggett said in the past year, particularly in the trucking industry, he had seen improvements by the Ministry of Transport and the NZTA, including an attitude change and moving back to its core role as a regulator.

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The Transport Minister says the failures have been a contributing factor to deaths and injuries on the roads. Source: 1 NEWS

He said it was good though to get some recommendations from the review, adding his only caution would be not to overstep and "move the dial so far".

"We want to have a cooperative relationship between motorists and the regulator but appropriate in ensuring the rules are being kept."

Yesterday, Ministry of Transport’s chief executive Peter Mersi said the Minister shared responsibility for the regulatory failure, and called the report a "wake up call for the Ministry".

He said prior to 2017, the Ministry's monitoring function "wasn't always able to capture information regarding NZTA"s regulatory performance, nor did we highlight our concerns to the Board in strong enough terms".

NZTA board chair Brian Roche said work began to resolve the issues as soon as they were identified.