What is the Northland Transportation Alliance?
The Northland Transportation Alliance (NTA) is a collaboration between local government and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to deliver joined up services for roading and transportation in Northland. The NTA was launched on 01 July 2016 and is a collaboration between Kaipara District Council (KDC), Whangarei District Council (WDC), Far North District Council (FNDC), Northland Regional Council (NRC) and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. The alliance combines staff, services and resources for roading and transportation in Northland to improve consistency and services for all Northland road users.
Why was the NTA established?
The NTA co-ordinates staff and resources to benefit all Northland road users. With combined staff and resources Northland sees improved services and efficiencies of scale e.g. specialist skills and purchasing power. Expenditure across Northland’s roading and transportation amounts to over $86m per year (not including State Highways). That works out as nearly $600 for every person living in Northland.
How many staff are in the NTA and where are they located?
Over fifty council staff (FNDC, KDC, WDC and NRC) and Waka Kotahi NZTA’s regional personnel all work together within the NTA, some of which will be co-located in Whangarei.
Is this the start of a slippery-slope towards amalgamation?
No. Each Council retains their own democratic representation and decision making about their transport networks. All councils are required by the Local Government Act to deliver services in the most cost effective manner, and it’s sensible to work together to improve the management of the councils’ annual $86m transport investment. Each council owns their transport assets and is independently responsible for their funding, setting the levels of service and making all the operating decisions, in consultation with their local communities.
Who do I talk to about issues with my local roads?
The customer services centres of each council are the main contact points for residents and road users.
What’s the benefit of having the NTA staffing wise – are they just smaller fish in a bigger pond?
There’s a n ongoing shortage of skilled transport management staff across the country, so it’s difficult for remote rural areas to compete in recruiting and retaining good staff. The NTA arrangement ensures we have a greater focus on the important strategic decisions and forward planning. The NTA provides a larger team environment where areas of specialisation are developed and there are increased opportunities for career development.
We seem to struggle to maintain our rural roads – how does the NTA it any better?
This arrangement helps each council to stretch their dollars further, as we make better decisions about maintaining and renewing our transport assets. We also gain savings by co-ordinating our work programmes to smooth out the peaks and troughs so we aren’t competing for contractors with neighbouring councils.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency operate the State Highway network that provides most of the connectivity between the districts of the region, and to the Auckland region.
The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has been working to increase their staff presence in Northland to provide better customer service, improve information flow, and make more timely and efficient management decisions. The NTA arrangements build an even stronger regional approach, especially to transport planning, managing safety and route resilience programmes, and providing an integrated ‘one-network’ approach (one-stop shop).
Northland Regional Council
The NRC has important responsibilities in co-ordinating the Regional Land Transport Programme, public transport and road safety initiatives.