Regional Transport Committee

Open Minutes

Commencing:             Friday 5 November 2021, 9.30 am

Venue:                         Via Zoom (Audio Visual Meeting)

Chairperson:               Cr Lyall Thurston - Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Deputy Chairperson:  Cr Jane Nees - Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Members:                    Mayor Malcolm Campbell - Kawerau District Council, Deputy Mayor Faylene Tunui – Alternate, Kawerau District Council, Mayor Steve Chadwick - Rotorua Lakes Council (from 9.48 am), Mayor Lyn Riesterer - Ōpōtiki District Council, Mayor Garry Webber - Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Commissioner Stephen Selwood – Alternate, Tauranga City Council, David Speirs - Waka Kotahi, Angus Hodgson – KiwiRail

In Attendance:            Bay of Plenty Regional Council: Namouta Poutasi – General Manager, Strategy and Science, James Llewellyn – Transport and Urban Planning Manager, Lorraine Cheyne - Team Leader, Transport and Urban Strategy, Amanda Namana – Committee Advisor

                                                      External: Dan Kneebone – Port of Tauranga Advisor, Glen Crowther – Environmental Sustainability Advisor, Simon Sinclair – NZ Police (from 11:30 am), Ben Ormsby – Ministry of Transport, Dave Brash – Independent Consultant, Jess Andrew –Regional Manager System Design, Waka Kotahi, Alastair Cribbens - Principal Planning Advisor, Spatial System Planning, Waka Kotahi

Apologies:                  Chairman Doug Leeder – Bay of Plenty Regional Council, John Galbraith – Freight Advisor, Inspector Brent Crowe – NZ Police Road Safety Advisor, Helen Rogers – KiwiRail, Mayor Garry Webber – Western Bay of Plenty District Council (early departure)

Please note: This meeting was livestreamed and recorded and can be accessed on Council’s YouTube channel: Regional Transport Committee - 5 November 2021 - YouTube

 

1.     Apologies

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Accepts the apologies from Chairman Doug Leeder, John Galbraith, Brent Crowe, Helen Rogers and Mayor Webber (for early departure) tendered at the meeting.

Thurston/Riesterer

CARRIED

2.     Order of Business

Agenda item 8.2 was to be taken before agenda item 8.1 to accommodate the arrival of presenters.

3.     Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

None declared.

4.     Minutes

Minutes to be Confirmed

4.1

Regional Transport Committee Minutes - 14 September 2021

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Confirms the Regional Transport Committee Minutes - 14 September 2021 as a true and correct record.

Nees/Webber

CARRIED

5.     Reports

5.1

Chairperson's Report

Chair Cr Thurston and General Manager Strategy and Science Namouta Poutasi presented this item.

Key Points:

·           Advised that the work programme had been updated to include matters requested by the Committee at the previous meeting, in particular the funding and financing component

·           Kainga Ora had notified applicants of the outcome for expressions of interest applications to the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF).

Key Points - Members:

·             Noted that the Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail business case had not specifically been requested by the Committee.

 

Items for Staff Follow Up:

·             Provide further detail to a future meeting regarding the proposed timeframe for development of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) high level business case for Hamilton to Auckland inter-regional passenger rail being extended to Tauranga

·             Page 54 of the Future for Local Government Review interim report referenced the development of collaborative regional plans and strategies, with structures adopted that built upon the learnings from  regional land transport committees and emerging urban growth partnership models – staff to provide a report to a future meeting about what is meant by this and what the implications were for the Committee and operations going forward.

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Chairperson's Report;

2          Notes the revised Regional Transport Committee work programme, including future funding and financing opportunities such as Road Pricing across land transport; and

3          Requests staff draft letters on behalf of the Committee, in support of those Council applications that have made the second stage of Kainga Ora’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund process, including Ōpōtiki District Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council.

Webber/Nees

CARRIED

6.     PRESENTATIONS

6.1

KiwiRail: Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP)

Presentation: Rail Network Investment Programme: Objective ID A3967257

Manager Policy and Shareholder Angus Hodgson presented this item.

 

Key Points of Presentation:

·           Provided an overview of Minister Woods’ RNIP statement, the delivery of the RNIP programme and how success would be monitored

·           Development of the forward works programme

·           Outlined projects included in the RNIP

·           3 Year Programme – Rail Network Activity Class, the focus being on foundational infrastructure

·           Provided an update on regional commuter rail investment priorities

·           Outlined broader investment planned

·           Noted the key initiatives for RNIP in the Bay of Plenty.

9.48 am Mayor Chadwick entered the meeting.

Key Points - Members:

·             Encouraged tourism links, including rapid rail for Taupō and Rotorua with Auckland being included in any long term thinking

·             Expressed concern that some of the overarching pricing strategies may drive freight volumes onto the road

·            The line between Kawerau and Tauranga was viable but expressed concern over costs to transport timber compared to paper

·             Queried whether there could be a way of ensuring environmental costs of freight by road were covered and that KiwiRail could offer a competitive pricing advantage.

In Response to Questions:

·             Advised that electrification of the North Island network was feasible

·             KiwiRail were interested in the concept of electrification between Auckland and Tauranga due to major benefits to be realised from large freight volumes

·             The timeframe for this was uncertain due to the work  needed to be undertaken to identify how long it would take and the amount of capital involved

·             There were other options to consider for moving large freight volumes with a lower emissions approach and locomotive technology was advancing quickly – KiwiRail continued to be interested in electrification but other ways may be identified to achieve similar benefits

·             The best way to get regional priorities e.g. Rotorua to Auckland tourism links through was via the next NZ Rail Plan

·             Waka Kotahi had funding available for business cases on different transport initiatives

·             Part of the commercial strategy was to ensure pricing offered the next best alternative to using the road

·           Agreed to respond directly to Mayor Campbell about his specific concerns for Kawerau

·           Always interested in moving people by rail – the case for any new service required working through costs, demand, a business case and a rail plan.

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1       Receives the presentation, KiwiRail: Rail Network Investment Programme.

Thurston/Webber

CARRIED

 

6.2

Ministry of Transport: Hamilton to Tauranga inter-regional passenger rail business case

Presentation: Hamilton to Auckland Intercity Connectivity: Objective ID A3967256  

Senior Advisor, Placemaking and Urban Development Ben Ormsby presented this item.

 

Key Points of Presentation:

·             Provided history on the origin of the Hamilton to Auckland business case

·             Highlighted the progression of the indicative business case (IBC) and timeline

·             Outlined what was required to complete the IBC and in identifying a preferred way forward

·             Continued investigation into the possible extension to Tauranga.

Key Points - Members:

·            Noted that Taupō and Rotorua were members of the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) and should be included in consideration of the extension to Tauranga

·            Increasing passenger rail could have a negative impact on the ability of moving more freight via rail - would not like to see this sacrificed

·            The Port of Tauranga requested that any work into investigating feasibility of passengers onto the existing rail network ensured that freight did not get displaced, and to take note of the Port’s initiative of the inland port at Ruakura

·             There was potential that patronage volumes on metro rail could be significantly greater

·             Acknowledged the housing and transport crisis in Tauranga, queried what role rail could have in enabling greater density on a corridor and providing passenger service into the future.

In Response to Questions:

·             For the Hamilton to Auckland business case, rail came out the strongest but this may not be true for the Hamilton to Tauranga case – the full range of transport modes would be considered and the best outcome would not necessarily be a rail solution

·             From a technical planning perspective, rail was one option that may support denser growth in Tauranga City but would need to go through a business case to see whether that level of investment could be justified.

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1           Receives the presentation, Ministry of Transport: Hamilton to Tauranga inter-regional passenger rail business case.

Thurston/Nees

CARRIED

 7.    Reports (Continued)

7.1

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Quarterly Update

Presentation: Waka Kotahi Quarterly Update: Objective ID A3967412

Director Regional Relationships David Speirs presented this item.

Key Points of Presentation:

·           If there were no further Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdowns, the cost escalations due to Covid-19 should be manageable within the National Land Transport Plan (NLTP) window of funding

·           Approximately 300 police were occupied with Level 3 boundary monitoring, which impacted upon other services such as road policing

·           The ability to bring in skilled labour in the transport and infrastructure sectors was impacted by the current tight labour market

·           An agreed procurement process was being worked through for an ultimate national single ticketing system for public transport

·           The Emissions Reduction Plan was out for public consultation

·           Work was continuing on Māori bilingual traffic signage - this was a large programme with significant safety implications to be considered.  The signs would be replaced in a phased approach as they came up for maintenance/ replacement

·           The Eastern Bay of Plenty was the next sub-region section to be developed within the Bay of Plenty Mode Shift Plan

·           Identifying where safety improvements could make the biggest difference in saving lives was part of the delivery of the Road to Zero programme.

Key Points - Members:

·             Tauranga City Council would be preparing a submission during the emissions reduction consultation process, highlighting the effect road pricing could have in achieving a swift reduction in carbon emissions

·             Suggested a case study be put together on the way Waka Kotahi had progressed property purchases - commended the consultation process, the team that was established and the way they operated to complete the purchases.

In Response to Questions:

·           In areas where there where marae, schools, Urupa etc there were bespoke solutions required and these were all part of the Safety Improvement Programme

·           The current focus for the Hewletts Road sub-area transport system plan was to enable safe cycling, and the extension would be included in the business case process.

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Quarterly Update.

Thurston/Riesterer

CARRIED

 

10.46 am – The meeting adjourned.

 

11.01 am – The meeting reconvened.

 

7.2

Independent Review of why Takitimu North Link Stage 2 was not included in the RLTP 2021-31

General Manager Strategy and Science Namouta Poutasi introduced this item, presented by Independent Consultant Dave Brash.

Key Points:

·             Summarised the findings of the review:

o    The consideration of the RLTP process and whether Takitimu North Link (TNL) Stage 2 was not included was found to be professional and the decision-making reasonable, based upon sound advice

o    Outlined the two key crucial decision points on why TNL Stage 2 was not included in the 2021-2031 RLTP:

§  It was already included in the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) funding and Waka Kotahi had made the decision not to include it in National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) funding

§  When the NZUP funding was withdrawn at the last minute in June 2021 the Regional Transport Committee (RTC) had the ability to reconsider but the timeframe was not feasible for the further consultation and changes required

·             There were lessons to be learnt from the advice received from Waka Kotahi and Local Government NZ:

o    Considered that the  RTC had the discretion to prioritise projects irrespective of whether they were put forward by an Approved Organisation (AO) or were funded by other means, however unless a project was formally put forward by the AO concerned it could not be included in the NLTF

o    Given the proliferation of funding buckets available, national advice needed to be looked at again in the future and the guidance changed, so that the question of priority could be separated from funding forms

·           There needed to be more partnership with RTCs and recognition of impacts on the RLTP in the way different funds were currently operated independently.

 

Key Points - Members:

·           The working party members could be confirmed at the next meeting and should identify best practice processes before the end of the triennium, for the benefit of the RTC that undertakes the next RLTP process

·           Would like to see national best practice integrated into the working party outcomes.

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Independent Review of why Takitimu North Link Stage 2 was not included in the RLTP 2021-31;

2          That a working party be established to provide best practice process for the next RLTP review;

Webber/ Chadwick

CARRIED

 

3         Agrees to write to the Minister of Transport to share the findings of the Independent Review of why Takitimu North Link Stage 2 was not included in the 2021-31 RLTP.

Thurston/Riesterer

CARRIED

 

7.3

Regional Land Transport Plan Variations from Waka Kotahi

Tabled Document 1 - RLTP Variation memo from Waka Kotahi received 4 November 2021: Objective ID A3967258

Regional Manager System Design Jess Andrew and Regional Relationships Manager David Speirs presented this item.

Key Points:

·             Noted that the variation memo tabled had not yet been to the Regional Advisory Group (RAG)

·             The Waihi to Ōmōkoroa safety improvements covered an 18km stretch of road which made cost and significance for the median barrier difficult to determine.  This was not a new activity, but a new phase of an existing activity and was over the $20M threshold, with the significance to be determined by the RTC

·             There had also been extensive community engagement and consultation on the median barrier to date, including public open days and engagement opportunities along the corridor

·             The Ōmōkoroa intersection improvements had a lot of complexity and the cost of pre-implementation and implementation was unable to be quantified.

Key Points - Members:

·           There was already a designation in place for the Ōmōkoroa interchange, including drawings completed in 1998 on the solution and significant consultation had previously been undertaken

·           Emphasised the Ōmōkoroa Road/ State Highway 2 intersection as the most critical issue.  The land on the Ōmōkoroa side of State Highway 2 needed to be purchased so that implementation could commence

·           Frustration caused serious accidents and the Ōmōkoroa intersection was one of the most dangerous - fully supported this being addressed urgently.

In Response to Questions:

·           Acknowledged the urgency of the Ōmōkoroa interchange work and noted that it needed refinement to provide further options to address the issues and find the best solution

·           The result of consultation on the Waihi to Ōmōkoroa median barrier  remained mixed due to the controversial nature.  There were those in support for the significant safety benefits and others with concerns over access - the  bulk of these concerns having been addressed with relevant landowners.  The pre-implementation and resource consent aspects of this would require further consultation through other statutory processes.

12.30 pm – Simon Sinclair entered the meeting.

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Regional Land Transport Plan Variations from Waka Kotahi

2          Approves the proposed variations as additions to the Bay of Plenty Regional Land Transport Plan 2021-31, including details outlined in the Waka Kotahi memo dated 4 November 2021:

(a)   SH2 Waihi to Ōmokoroa (Katikati- Ōmokoroa);

(b)  SH2 Ōmokoroa to Te Puna – Corridor Safety Improvements;

(c)   SH33 (Te Ngae Junction to Paengaroa) - TNJ intersection; and

(d)  SH33 Te Ngae Junction to Paengaroa (Corridor Safety Improvements).

3          Determines that the proposed variations are not significant for the purposes of public consultation.

[Webber/Chadwick]

[CARRIED]

 

11.37 am - Mayor Webber withdrew from the meeting.

Information Only

7.4

Comparison between National Land Transport Programme and Regional Land Transport Plan

Transport and Urban Planning Manager James Llewellyn presented this item.

Key Points:

·           Noted a correction to the Executive Summary of the report: The NLTP funded $1.4B in the  Bay of Plenty, rather than $1.4M

·           Still a work in progress with Waka Kotahi and would be regularly reported on in relation to delivery.

Key Points - Members:

·           Strongly commended the funding for the stock effluent disposal facility.

In Response to Questions:

·           The Waka Kotahi low cost low risk programme funding included the Carless Wednesday challenge, for which the funding agreement process was underway with co-funders.

 

Items for Staff Follow Up:

·           Staff to respond directly to the Environmental Sustainability Advisor to clarify the complete list of all the activities. 

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Comparison between National Land Transport Programme and Regional Land Transport Plan.

Thurston/Nees

CARRIED

 

7.5

Mode Shift Plan - Rotorua Lakes District

Team Leader – Transport and Urban Strategy Lorraine Cheyne introduced the report, presented by Director Regional Relationships David Speirs and Principal Planning Advisor, Spatial System Planning Alastair Cribbens.

Key Points:

·             This Mode Shift Plan completed the Rotorua Lakes section of the Bay of Plenty Regional Mode Shift Plan

·             In particular, this section recognised travel choice programmes that acknowledged Rotorua’s unique cultural setting and demographics, as well as the city’s status as an iconic tourist destination.

Key Points - Members:

·           The 2018 census was outdated in terms of the uptake of cycling, walking and public transport use in Rotorua

·           Commended the plan as a positive exercise in working together and looking holistically at modes of transport, focusing on building communities.

In Response to Questions:

·             The Rotorua Mode Shift Plan was a good and robust summary of the current work underway and progressing, whilst recognising that there was more work to be undertaken and developed in the future.

 

Resolved

That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Mode Shift Plan - Rotorua Lakes District;

2          Endorses the Rotorua Lakes section of the Bay of Plenty Mode Shift Plan.

Chadwick/Nees

CARRIED

 

8.     Verbal Update Opportunity from Committee Members and Advisors

8.1

Glen Crowther – Environmental Sustainability Advisor

 

Key Points:

·             Regionwide and nationwide there was strong concern from within the environmental sector over central government carbon targets in the discussion document

·             Increasing international concern over New Zealand taking the approach of offsetting internationally as opposed to reducing emissions, which had significant implications for transport targets

·             Suggested that the RLTP target of 25% may need to be reconsidered at a future date as to where the Bay of Plenty aligned itself as a region – internationally or nationally.

 

8.2

Bay of Plenty District Police

Presentation: Road Safety update from New Zealand Police: Objective ID A3967261  

 

Senior Sergeant Simon Sinclair provided a regional road safety update to the Committee.

Key Points:

·             Concerning trend emerging of motorcycle fatalities in the region, noting some reasons as motorcycle riders returning to riding with ageing skills, money not spent on travel being used to purchase motorcycles, less experienced riders, more groups of riders on the state highways

·             40-59 years old was the most common age bracket in fatalities across the region, with reductions in the 20-24 year old bracket

·             State highways continued to feature highly in fatality rates, with common causes being inattention, cars crossing the centreline and high speeds

·             A recent checkpoint found one in 80 drivers were above the alcohol limit

·             Impairment was the most common cause of death in Western Bay of Plenty, Eastern Bay of Plenty and Rotorua

·             December 2021/January 2022 focus centred around impairment in popular holiday destinations

·             Speeds of 30-100 kms over any given speed limit were still being regularly detected

·             Highlighted the perception that Police were the end user as the face of speed enforcement and there was a lack of consultation around speed limit management.

Key Points - Members:

·           Expressed safety concerns over an intersection in Ōpōtiki with stop signs which crossed a state highway where excessive speeds had been observed

·           The traffic calming standard needed looking at and was of considerable concern to the community

·           Interested to hear from Waka Kotahi in the future around any work on the resilience of state highways from climate change and what their programme was with regard to the Bay of Plenty regional risk assessment

·           Realistic signage and speeds were key to receiving support and compliance.

 

Item for Staff Follow Up:

·             Inspector Crowe to respond regarding a joint summer campaign with councils regarding speeding.

12.16 pm – the meeting closed.

 

 

Confirmed                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                   Cr Lyall Thurston

Chairperson, Regional Transport Committee