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Governance and Regulation Questions & Answers



Governance

Why must decision-making on Auckland Transport be reorganised?

The Government is making an unprecedented investment in Auckland's transport system but this investment will not bear the fruit it should unless the confused and inefficient lines of responsibility that currently exist for Auckland transport decisions are resolved. As a result, the Government, in consultation with Auckland's regional, city and district councils, has developed a new structure for transport decision-making.

A new organisation is to be established that is accountable to the Auckland Regional Council (ARC). Called the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), this body will be run by a business-like board with clear statutory obligations. It will co-ordinate the planning of Auckland's transport priorities, and issue a public statement outlining them. It will decide what new initiatives will be funded, when and in what order.

ARTA will not make decisions about state highways or rail lines, these will continue to be decided by other agencies, although ARTA will be able to express a view about them.

ARTA will contract and purchase passenger transport services.

How will ARTA be funded?

ARTA won't raise funds for Auckland transport itself. That will continue to come from central government's transport funding arm Transfund, the revenue raised by the ARC through rates, and the funding from the assets of Infrastructure Auckland. ARTA will prioritise transport projects for the Auckland region and identify funding for them. It must make its decisions within the funding available.

What will ARTA have to consider in its decision- making?

ARTA will have to give effect to the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy, which sets the broad mix of transport options that Aucklanders want, such as how much public transport is provided versus how many new roads. The ARC is responsible for drawing up this strategy in consultation with Auckland’s territorial authorities.

ARTA will also have to consider Auckland’s other planning documents in its decision-making, and take into account the land transport programmes of Transit and the soon to be formed TrackCo. This is to ensure Auckland's transport priorities are aligned with national priorities expressed in the development of the state highway network, and the rail network.

What will happen to Infrastructure Auckland and its assets?

Infrastructure Auckland will be disestablished and its assets transferred in to a new body, Auckland Regional Holdings (ARH): ARH will be accountable to the ARC. Funding from ARH's assets will be passed to the ARC, which will decide how much is then passed to ARTA for expenditure on transport.

Must all of the funds transferred to ARH be used on transport and stormwater?

The need for greater expenditure on transport and stormwater infrastructure is a clear priority for the region. In recognition of this the government is requiring the ARC to expend a minimum of 85% of the funds received from ARH for these purposes. However, the Government does recognise that there are other regional priorities that may need extra funding. The ARC, in consultation with their electors, will have the flexibility to determine how any remaining funds can be spent. This will be reviewed in 2008.

How are the members of ARH and ARTA appointed?

The ARC will be responsible for appointing suitably qualified members to the ARH board. It is proposed that a 15 member Appointments Panel be responsible for the appointment of members to the ARTA board.

The Appointments Panel will comprise of one representative of each territorial authority of the Auckland Region, and an equal number of representatives chosen by the Auckland Regional Council and the Chair of the ARC (who will be the chair of the panel). The appointment of an individual director of ARTA will require a minimum of 10 votes. This will ensure that a balance of perspectives is taken into account when making appointments.

Who is eligible for appointment to ARTA?

ARTA will be made up of people who have commercial expertise, knowledge of transport planning, and knowledge of other factors relevant to complex transport demand management and public transport issues. Elected members of the ARC and territorial authorities are not permitted to sit on the board.

What control will the ARC have over ARTA?

ARTA will be accountable to the ARC. It will have a statement of intent with the ARC, and will provide a public annual report. The ARC will be able to determine 'governance' matters' relating to ARTA, such as the number of directors that sit on ARTA's board, what constitutes a quorum on that board, and the circumstances in which directors might be dismissed. The ARC will be able to appoint temporary directors to ensure the ARTA board has a quorum. ARC will also determine the total amount of regional funding to ARTA. But the ARC will not be able to alter ARTAs decisions about particular projects.

Will members of the public be able to have a say in their region’s transport priorities?

Yes. Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on ARTA’s Statement of Priorities, produced every year. The first one will be produced in 2006/7 when ARTA has assumed its full responsibilities. The public will also have input into ARTA’s Regional Land Transport Programme through consultation conducted by either ARTA or Auckland’s local authorities.

When will the new structures be up and running?

On 1 July Infrastructure Auckland will be disestablished and ARTA and ARH will be established.

What happens to the grants that Infrastructure Auckland has approved but not fully paid out?

ARTA will be responsible for administering any transport grants that have been approved by Infrastructure Auckland but not yet fully paid out. ARC will be responsible for administering any stormwater grants that have been approved by Infrastructure Auckland but not yet fully paid out

What effect will these changes have on Infrastructure Auckland staff?

Infrastructure Auckland employs 11 staff. They will be considered for suitable jobs in ARH, ARTA or ARC.

Will city and district councils still be accountable to their communities for local roads?

Yes. City and district councils will still be required to consult local communities about their roading projects and the raising of rates to fund them.

They will need to submit roading projects or activities to ARTA if they wish to seek funding from the Government or the ARC. ARTA will co-ordinate the applications for funding to ensure better integration across the local roading network and passenger transport.

Territorial authorities will still let contracts for all work on their roads and will retain their entire road controlling authority powers.

How do the new arrangements affect the Auckland Regional Transport Network (ARTNL), including Britomart?

ARTNL plays an important role in managing and delivering particular transport services in Auckland. The Government considers that including ARTNL within the new transport arrangements would provide better integration of transport services for Auckland and is working with ARTNL and its shareholders to achieve the best outcome.

Will ARTA be introducing road pricing?

Road pricing on existing road is not permitted under existing legislation, although it is being explored for new roads.

Over the next 18 months, the government will be investigating road-pricing options for existing roads in Auckland, taking into account the social, environmental and economic impacts. No decisions have been made at this time. That investigation will help inform government as to whether it is worthwhile to pursue road pricing of existing roads further.

How does this new structure apply to Franklin District Council?

Unlike Auckland’s other territorial authorities, Franklin straddles both the Auckland and Waikato districts. We will be talking to Franklin to come up with a good solution to ensure the new arrangements work for Franklin before the new structure is passed into law.


Regulatory

Will councils have to make changes to their Regional Policy Statement and Regional and District Plans as a result of the Government's decisions?

Yes. The Government and Auckland councils all agree that Auckland’s existing suite of planning documents (the Auckland Regional Policy Statement and Auckland Regional and District Plans) do not provide an adequate basis for integrated and sustainable land use and transport development. Changes to these planning documents are needed to better align them with the strategic intent of the Auckland Regional Growth Strategy and the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy (this is due to be revised by December 2005).

To achieve this alignment, and to encourage councils to work together, the Government has directed the eight Auckland councils to prepare changes to their planning documents and to publicly notify the proposed changes for submissions in early 2005.

Councils are also required to appoint a joint hearings panel to hear submissions and to make recommendations on the proposed changes to the councils. This is instead of having eight separate hearings processes.

What affect will these changes have?

The aim of the changes is to improve the planning provisions against which future land use and transport projects will be assessed. Projects that are approved under the updated planning documents should help to lessen traffic congestion and related air pollution, and contribute to a greater quality of life for Aucklanders.

Will implementation of Auckland’s transport package require an amendment to the Resource Management Act?

No. The Resource Management Act (RMA) does not need to be amended to achieve the changes to Auckland’s planning documents. Under the RMA, councils can choose to hold a joint hearing, but in this case the Government is requiring them to do so.

How can people participate?

Proposed changes to Auckland’s planning documents will be publicly notified (in daily newspapers) and submissions called for in early 2005. A joint hearings panel will be appointed by councils to hear all submissions.

How long will this process take?

The changes could be in place by 2007 but that will depend on the hearings process.

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Last updated: 04/07/2006