NZTA continue to refuse to publish their board papers online (even though they spend around $3 billion of taxpayers’ money a year), so in the cause of increased transparency I have been doing Official Information Act requests for their board papers for a while now. Here are the papers from the latest meeting, with a short comment where I think they contain something interesting. A list of the documents is included below: Attachment 1 – Chief Executive’s Report. Quite a lot of the “progress on RoNS” information has been withheld, which is quite disappointing. Aside from that, there’s an interesting snippet about NZTA’s concerns over the Rugby World Cup opening night. More detail is provided in attachment 11 on this matter.
Attachment 2 – NLTF cashflow and programme management. This document is really interesting, as it details some of the significant cashflow problems NZTA is facing at the moment, which has led to a complete moratorium (and potentially even further measures) on new state highway projects for quite some time. This is summarised below: While some of the extra expenditure has obviously been unavoidable, it is somewhat concerning to heard about the discrepancies due to MoT not recording expenditure (further investigation showed that this was around $180 million, not a small amount!)
Attachment 3 – Quarterly Report on Borrowing. This seems a fairly standard and repeating report showing NZTA’s cashflow position. As per the previous paper, it’s clear that NZTA is really pushing their debt limits at the moment.
Attachment 4 – Refreshing the Investment and Revenue Strategy. This document outlined some possible changes that NZTA will be making to the way they prioritise transport projects, as a result of changes to the Government Policy Statement. The proposals are quite worrying, particularly in terms of focusing more emphasis on ‘strategic fit’ (which means little more than what is the Minister’s pet project).
Attachment 5 – NLTP activity funding class allocations. This gives us some hints about the level of funding NZTA is going to give to various types of transport over the next few years – it largely reflects the roads-obsessed Government Policy Statement, so is fairly depressing.
Attachment 6 – Proposed changes to funding assistance rates. This outlines some changes to the level which NZTA helps subsidise the different councils around the country in undertaking their work. It’s worth noting that Auckland gets a relatively low level of subsidy compared to most of the rest of the country.
Attachment 7 – Draft State Highway Asset Management Plan. I just glanced over this largely – it’s interesting to note how much property NZTA owns but isn’t currently used for state highways.
Attachment 8 – Pricing and Operation Principles for National Integrated Ticketing. A very interesting paper that confirms NZTA will take over the running of all public transport ticketing systems in New Zealand in the future, to enable interoperability. Snapper made quite a detailed submission raising concerns about the proposal but (thankfully) these have been dismissed by NZTA who note the importance of having independence the processing system from any bus operator. This is summarised below:
Attachment 9 – Establishment of NZ Transport Ticketing Ltd. This seems to be the necessary legal requirements to establish the entity that will look after the integrated ticketing system referred to above.
Attachment 10 – Western Ring Route, pre-award review. This paper relates to the process NZTA have undertaken (or were about to undertake when the paper was written) to decide who would win the contract for constructing the Waterview Connection process. It’s an interesting insight into how these decisions are made.
Attachment 11 – General Business. This has a wide variety of information, although as noted under attachment one, it’s particularly interesting to see what was said about the concerns NZTA had about the Rugby World Cup opening night: Overall there’s a bit more interesting stuff than you normally get from an NZTA board meeting. Particularly in relation to integrated ticketing and the financial issues NZTA is currently facing.