By Tommy Parker, group manager, Highways, NZTA
I was delighted to be at the Going the Extra Mile Awards at the end of September. I always enjoy attending this event – it’s great see our suppliers having their day in the sun.
When these awards were initially established, they were about customer service – putting the customer firmly in the centre of what we do.
Over time, they have gradually been expanded into other aspects of what we do – protecting the environment, Zero Harm, and innovation. While we have expanded our categories, fundamentally these are still about making the lives of our customers and citizens better.
Our customers experience us, the NZ Transport Agency, through our suppliers and it’s pleasing to that, year upon year, the number and quality of applications rising dramatically – we had 60 entries in nine categories this year.
I’m impressed at the diversity of the many initiatives underway by our suppliers and I congratulate our winners this year.
The winning entries ranged from provision of a free overnight bus for cyclists and pedestrians while the Mt Victoria Tunnel was being upgraded, through to a trailer-mounted vacuum cleaner to make clearing litter quicker and less risky for our people. Or sometimes, it’s simply about just doing what you do well, in such a way as to make people feel good about themselves, as our customer champion winner did this year.
I know this issue of Contractor magazine has coverage of the awards from this year, or you can find out more about our winners, and why they won, on www.nzta.govt.nz/gems
Many of you will be no stranger to the impact of Auckland on our construction agenda. New Zealand’s largest city is expected to grow by 700,000 people (that’s the size of Tauranga) over the next 30 years.
A few weeks ago, the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), a collaborative project between the Government (Ministry of Transport, Treasury, NZ Transport Agency, State Services Commission) and Auckland Council/Auckland Transport, released its final report on a joint central-local government strategic approach to meet Auckland’s transport challenges over the next 30 years.
The conclusion has been that there is a better programme for Auckland than current plans. The three key elements are maximising use of the existing network, targeted investment to increase capacity, and using new technology and smarter pricing to manage demand.
We are playing a key role in proactively addressing the growth challenges identified through ATAP. Work is already underway, with the Transport for Future Urban Growth project (TFUG) looking at how we will support growth in the greenfields – a key priority for ATAP in the first decade and beyond.
Combined with TFUG, ATAP has pointed to the positive outcomes that can be achieved by greater integration with land use planning and greater collaboration between agencies, local and central Government.
Our Transport Agency Board are considering what the next steps for the Transport Agency will be, and how we can be further involved as this work progresses – we’ll keep you updated.
Finally, we have just had our annual NZ Transport Agency/NZ Institute of Highway Technology conference. This year’s theme was ‘Towards world leading road operation, construction and maintenance’ and the line-up of presenters and workshops was impressive.
*This opinion was first published in November’s Contractor. If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the people and projects driving NZ’s infrastructure you might like to subscribe to our regular newsletter.