A core unit of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) – Waka Kotahi is being restructured after documents revealed it was no longer effective.
An internal report obtained by RNZ details that the four-team System Integrity unit has not delivered adequate results to NZTA after the agency was ordered by the government to improve itself on the regulatory front in 2018.
NZTA has been struggling to meet its road safety targets for a while now as they have only installed a fifth of the median barriers due by 2024 to prevent head-on crashes on motorways, and less than a fifth of side barriers.
The agency said $3.6 billion was invested in road safety from 2018 to 2021 and another $2.9 billion would be needed up until 2024.
The report also includes comments made by the unit’s head, Chris Rodley, “Increasingly, our functions and ways of working are perceived as barriers to better regulatory outcomes.
“We have lost clarity of how we add value, why we are here, what we exist for.”
He went on to mention that, “In many cases external parties and internal Waka Kotahi teams are finding ways to work around us – effectively shutting us out of the tent,”
“Therefore, we are no longer effective in our roles or in the delivery of our functions.”
The four teams in the unit worked in silos and did not know what they were meant to do to deliver on the 2020-25 regulatory strategy.
The result of this is that alongside the unit’s restructure, NZTA is terminating most of the positions found within the old teams or redeploying them elsewhere.
Seven of the unit’s engineering jobs are also being replaced with “technical advisors”.
Documents also revealed that the four teams including Network Safety, Vehicle Standards, Operational Policy, and Driver and Operator, are being transformed into four new teams – regulatory technical, implementation, programmes, and standards and guidance.
The unit’s restructure is expected to be complete by next month but there is doubt that it will be effective.