Regional Transport Committee

Open Minutes

Commencing:             Thursday 31 August 2023, 9.30 am

Venue:                         Council Chambers, Level 1, 1 Elizabeth Street, Tauranga

Chairperson:               Cr Lyall Thurston - Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana (BOPRC)

Members:                    Mayor Faylene Tunui - Kawerau District Council (via Zoom),

Mayor David Moore - Ōpōtiki District Council,

Commissioner Stephen Selwood – Alternate, Tauranga City Council, Cr Andrew von Dadelszen – Alternate, BOPRC, Mayor Tania Tapsell - Rotorua Lakes Council (via Zoom), Cr Conan O'Brien – Alternate, Rotorua Lakes Council (via Zoom), Mayor James Denyer - Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Mayor Victor Luca - Whakatāne District Council, Jessica Andrew – Alternate, Waka Kotahi, Angus Hodgson – KiwiRail, non-voting (via Zoom)


In Attendance:            External Advisors: Dan Kneebone – Port of Tauranga,

Stacey Spall - NZ Automobile Association (via Zoom), Glen Crowther – Environmental Sustainability


BOPRC: Cr Ron Scott, Cr Jane Nees (via Zoom), Cr Stuart Crosby (via Zoom), Cr Kevin Winters (via Zoom), Oliver Haycock – Acting Public Transport Director, presenters – as listed in the minutes, Amanda Namana – Committee Advisor

Apologies:                  Cr Ken Shirley - BOPRC, Mayor Victor Luca - Whakatāne District Council, Deputy Mayor Lesley Immink – Whakatāne District Council, Greg Pert – Freight Advisor, Fane Troy – NZ Police, David Speirs – Waka Kotahi

Please note: This meeting was livestreamed and recorded, and can be accessed on Council’s YouTube channel: Regional Transport Committee Meeting - 31 August 2023

1.     Apologies


That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Accepts the apologies from Cr Shirley, Mayor Luca, Deputy Mayor Immink, Greg Pert, Fane Troy and David Speirs for absence tendered at the meeting.



2.     Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

None declared.  Glen Crowther noted that he is now a member of NZ Automobile Association.

3.     Minutes

Minutes to be Confirmed


Regional Transport Committee Minutes - 15 June 2023



That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Confirms the Regional Transport Committee Minutes - 15 June 2023 as a true and correct record.



4.     Presentations


The Future is Rail

Presentation: The Future is Rail: Objective ID A4465628  

Presented by: Lindsey Horne


Key Points:

·               The Future is Rail was a nationwide group of advocates including transport experts, professionals and community representatives supportive of using rail to become better connected

·               A recent sell-out conference held in Wellington by The Future is Rail was attended by KiwiRail officials, major political parties and key government departments

·               Considered that the timing was right to invest in a business case for inter-regional rail through the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP)

·               Reasons to consider inter-regional rail:

o    Rail was a high impact way to reduce congestion and Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) emissions

o    Electric trains were the most carbon efficient way of travelling over long distances, and significantly safer than travelling by other modes

o    Bay of Plenty was the only region that had shown no improvement in reducing death and serious injuries on the roads since 2018

o    Suggested a detailed business case (DBC) to focus on inter-regional passenger rail and also pave the way for metro rail

o    Rail offered resilience in the face of extreme weather events and could be faster to open following these

o    Outlined the co-benefits of passenger rail working alongside freight

o    Rail was considered by patrons as a comfortable, stress-free, productive and sustainable way of travelling, along as being much more affordable than driving

o    Te Huia (Hamilton to Auckland service) had exceeded its patronage and emissions goals and added a Saturday service due to demand

·               Outlined key questions that a DBC would help to answer.

Key Points - Members:

·               Gaining a holistic view of rail, the challenges and opportunities would be beneficial in discovering if this could work for the region

·               KiwiRail supported a DBC to begin the planning phase.

Waka Kotahi - In Response to Questions:

·             Patronage and other benefits of passenger rail were most often not recognised until the service had been running for a couple of years. Noted that Te Huia had been launched during a pandemic and only ran twice per day, therefore full benefit was not yet being seen.  Suggested that patronage would be higher if services were increased in frequency from the start.


Items for Staff Follow Up:

·         Staff to consider the inclusion of a business case within the next RLTP to examine the case for inter-regional passenger rail.



Enabling Integrated Urban Development in Tauranga's Western Corridor

Presentation: Enabling Sustainable Development: Objective ID A4465594  


Presented By: Commissioner Stephen Selwood

Key Points:

·       Tauranga City and the Bay of Plenty region was an attractive place to live with a growing population creating three major challenges: housing supply and cost, congestion and carbon emissions

·       The shortage of housing supply was having a serious impact on housing affordability

·       Provided a sub-region growth map for Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty, including critical transportation projects that would enable and support growth.  Highlighted the critical congestion across the more strategic network in the city

·       Tauriko Business Estate currently held close to five thousand jobs, with the potential for another eight to ten thousand jobs in the future

·       Implementing medium density standards would allow increased capacity in the land behind The Crossing which would accommodate up to 25 thousand homes in the area

·       State Highway 29 investment was critical as it would provide a higher standard inter-regional connection between Waikato and Bay of Plenty, availing the existing state highway as a city road with rapid bus services from Tauriko – Barkes Corner – Cameron Road – Mount Maunganui.  This corridor was significant and accounted for servicing 70% of jobs in Tauranga, along with supermarkets, schools, the Port, hospital, beaches and the city. 

·       A video was played outlining the importance and benefits of upgrading State Highway 29

·       Provided Headline results of the Variable Pricing Study.  The concept of variable road pricing was to price the network more efficiently – pricing changing depending on traffic demands (higher at-peak times, lower at off-peak).  This would include an access charge and a distance (per kilometre) charge, creating a productivity gain across the transport system, increased mode shift, reducing current emissions and VKT

·     The road pricing proposal needed to provide a clear benefit to those who paid the toll, e.g. faster trip.  Considered that users would be paying for investment in the transport system more fairly than traditional reliance on ratepayers

·     No decisions were being made as yet but Tauranga City Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) consultation in November 2023 would seek community feedback on the road pricing option.

Key Points – Members and Advisors:

·       A highly efficient public transport alternative would need to be available for those who could not afford, or wanted to avoid the road pricing costs

·       A connected rapid transit system across the city was crucial and needed to be in place before commencing road pricing.

In Responses to Questions:

·       There were considerations to be made in getting the balance right - if one route was priced there was a risk of driving too much traffic to the other route.  The intention was for variable pricing to start out fairly structured, moving to a more dynamic approach over time

·       Pricing comparison of routes could become available in the same way as congestion and timing of trip options was currently shown through Google

·       The modelling undertaken made assumptions and estimates about people’s behaviours and changes.  Pricing would be based upon using specific parts of the strategic network, but crossing these routes would hold no charge

·       This concept supported urban intensification and discouraged urban sprawl - those who lived further out would be more dependent on the strategic network

·       Circumstances had changed which required different thinking from what had previously been decided -  supporting growth in the East would still occur to meet future housing demand.  The reason interest in developing the west had increased was a higher rate of growth and number of jobs available than originally expected, and the risk and timeframes around the development of Te Tumu.

10.53 am – The meeting adjourned.

11.06 am – The meeting reconvened.

·       There was multi-party support on a national level for a move to pricing the network into the future and significant interest in the proposal from Tauranga – including partnership opportunities if community support was forthcoming.

10:55 am - Cr Tunui withdrew from the meeting.

5.     Reports


Chairperson's Report

Presentation: Draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2024/25-2033/34 Survey feedback submission: Objective ID A4465699

Tabled Document 1 - Discussion Paper - Draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2024-2025: Objective ID A4478304  

Acting Public Transport Director Oliver Haycock, Principal Advisor - Transport Bron Healey, Team Leader – Transport Planning Andrew Williams and Senior Transport Planner Tia Narvaez presented this item.

Key Points:

·       Submissions on the recently released draft Government Policy Statement for land transport (GPS) were open until 15 September 2023

·       Tabled Document 1 outlined the technical analysis on the GPS position undertaken by staff and submitted to the Transport Special Interest Group (TSIG), to provide feedback to the Ministry of Transport (MoT) – noting this was not a formal submission

·       Noted that the New Zealand Freight Strategy had no significant implications and aligned well with the work in the RLTP space.

Key Points - Members:

·       Considered priorities for State Highway 2 between Katikati and Te Puna to be Takitimu Northern Link (TNL) Stage 1 and TNL Stage 2 – SH2, followed by a Katikati bypass before any type of upgrade between Katikati and Ōmokoroa.  This was a quality of living issue for residents, rather than a congestion issue

·       Needed to strongly express the need to increase the level of funding and considering alternative funding methods.



That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Chairperson's Report;

2          Delegates authority to the Chair to approve the final submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on land transport, on behalf of the Committee after being circulated to members for comment.





Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Quarterly Update

Presentation: Waka Kotahi Quarterly Update: Objective ID A4462709  

Regional Manager Systems Design Jessica Andrew presented this item.

Key Points:

·       The current focus for the 2021-24 National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) was reallocation of funding and ensuring there were available funds for committed projects

·       The Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan 2023-24 was now in the certification process

·       Reshaping Streets rule changes came into effect on 21 August 2023 and gave councils options to close streets for occasions such as family-oriented events

·       Tū ake, Tū māia – refreshed regulatory strategy had recently been released

·       Maintenance works season was to commence on 1 September 2023 and there was much to be completed across the network as weather and temperatures improved – acknowledged driver frustration and impacts of the works were trying to be minimised as much as possible

·       State Highway 2 Baypark to Bayfair Link – changes to the layout would continue to occur as work neared completion toward the end of 2023

·       The Waka Kotahi Board had endorsed the DBC for State Highway 29 Tauriko Network Connections.

Key Points - Members:

·       Raised the maintenance and safety issues concerning Tāneatua bridge – Waka Kotahi to provide an update to a future meeting.

In Response to Questions:

·       Statutory deadlines for interim changes to speed management rules had made integration more difficult.  Moving now to longer term speed management strategies should help address the previous misalignment

·       Rotorua Lakes flood and water levels following extreme weather events - still in the early stages of working through the options and response, considering longer term solutions, and looking at funding opportunities to investigate further.

11.35 am - Stacey Spall withdrew from the meeting.



That the Regional Transport Committee:

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




Decisions Required


Draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2024-2034 - Strategic Framework and Prioritisation Process

Presentation: Strategic Framework Prioritisation Process: Objective ID A4467010  

Presented by: Senior Transport Planner Tia Narvaez and Acting Public Transport Director Oliver Haycock presented this item.

Key Points:

·       Highlighted revisions made to the strategic framework following Committee feedback from the 4 August 2023 workshop

·       A further workshop would now be held in November 2023 to consider, discuss and moderate the prioritised list of significant activities and projects, followed by a Committee meeting in December to approve the draft RLTP for public consultation

·       Outlined the two components of the prioritisation process and approach.

Key Points - Members:

·       Objective and Policy for enabling housing supply: suggested amendments to wording in 6.1 – ‘supporting strategic planning initiatives’ to ‘supporting strategic investment that promotes…’ and 6.3 – ‘ensure district plans facilitate and support housing…’ to ‘transport investment supports and facilitates housing and business development’ with a focus on investment and delivery, rather than planning

·       Queried potential changes made to the Investment Logic Map (ILM) under Environmental Outcomes  – staff to investigate and respond directly to the Environmental Sustainability Advisor.

In Response to Questions:

·       The weighting of scenarios during project prioritisation was a complicated process and those provided were a starting point for discussion at the upcoming workshop.



That the Regional Transport Committee:

1          Receives the report, Draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2024-2034 – Strategic Framework and Prioritisation Process;

2          Notes the revised vision, objectives, ten-year transport investment priorities, benefit and problem statements based on the guidance given during the workshop on 04 August 2023;

3          Notes the updated list of policies within the strategic framework;

4          Approves the overall prioritisation process and approach for the Regional Land Transport Plan 2024 as outlined in the report;

5          Notes the progress made on the Regional Land Transport Plan 2024-2034 document, which will be affected by the release of central government policy that may impact the timing of consultation on the draft plan.




11.53 am – the meeting closed.




                                                                                                                                   Cr Lyall Thurston

Chairperson, Regional Transport Committee