Congratulations on your appointment.
You are now chairing the organisation responsible, by a substantial margin, for the highest number of preventable deaths and injuries in New Zealand. Your personal impact as chair is vital for New Zealand.
We need your leadership to guide New Zealand to become the safest country in the world, through instilling a world-leading safety culture at NZTA.
A safety culture starts with the example set by the Chair, and through them, the CEO. That cascades down through the organisation and beyond.
NZTA itself has made giant steps forward over the years, lowering the risk to staff and contractors, and reducing inherent risk on the roads. But people are still getting killed, and that’s unacceptable. We can instead genuinely aim for Zero Harm, and your new role provides the chance to change the safety mandate for NZTA.
I wrote about some ideas for how to approach this in my letter to Auckland Transport CEO Shane Ellison a year ago.
You are also the leader of the industry responsible for the second highest amount of carbon dioxide emissions in New Zealand, with transport emissions of over 15 Mt CO2-ecq per year. These emissions, like all other sources, need to be reduced by 18% each year in order for us to not exceed the 1.5 degree safety limit, as the chart below makes clear.
We need your leadership to show the world that New Zealand can reduce emissions from road transport by 18% per year, and to do so through incentives, partnerships and alternatives rather than punishment.
Start perhaps by correctly pricing the primary externality – the cost of CO2-ecq emissions – in every business case, large or small.
Your challenge, and mandate, is to save hundreds of New Zealand’s families from coping with the loss of loved-ones each year, and to do our part to fight the challenge of our times – the climate crisis.
I hope you take up this challenge, and create a lasting legacy.
(The Chair the the New Zealand Transportation Authority resigned recently. A new chair has yet to be announced.)