Media release

Joint $1.78b transport plan adopted for Otago and Southland

Monday 24 June 2024

The joint $1.78 billion transport funding bid by Otago and Southland was adopted today by their combined Otago and Southland Regional Transport Committee, following a meeting in Balclutha.

The respective Regional Land Transport Plans will next go before Otago Regional Council and Environment Southland next month before the Plan is lodged with NZ Transport Agency: Waka Kotahi by the end of July.

Otago and Southland are collectively seeking a total $1.78 billion in funding from NZTA’s State Highway improvement programme, for their respective 2024-2027 programmes of activities: $1.26 billion for Otago and $495 million for Southland.

NZTA’s State Highway improvement programme across Southland and Otago aims to address safety issues.

ORC’s Manager Transport Lorraine Cheyne thanked all the submitters from across Otago and Southland.

“Our thanks go out to all submitters for their thoughtful, quality contributions which helped by giving the Regional Land Transport Plan an increased customer voice on connectivity, accessibility and transport choice across the regions.”

The revised Plan has a “strengthened focus” on options for those who are transport disadvantaged and also references the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, she says.

There is also greater emphasis on the role of public and active transport, including the potential of cycle trails, Ms Cheyne says.

Some themes within submissions

Some themes within the submissions included having transport to access health services, given the status of Dunedin Hospital as the key tertiary hospital for the south of the South Island.

It was asked that there be recognition of blind users in the transport sector, and also around the ties to the transport sector for the disadvantaged.

Completing cycle connections, particularly the rail trails and connections into Dunedin and Southland, and also a call to treat Christchurch to Invercargill as a “linear city” with transport services, both road and rail.

Background and where to next

The Regional Transport Committees of Otago and Southland, meeting jointly since late 2014, have produced Otago Southland Regional Land Transport Plans. This successful joint working model was continued by subsequent Regional Transport Committees through to the current mid-term review of the 2021/31 RLTPs.

The Land Transport Management Act (LTMA) requires Regional Transport Committees prepare a Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) for their Region on a six yearly cycle. The LTMA also requires a mid-term review of the RLTP be completed within the six months of the expiry of the first three years of the RLTP.

The Draft mid-term review of the Otago Southland Regional Land Transport Plan 2024/27 has now been consulted on, submissions made, and hearings held. There were 53 submissions received with 23 requesting to appear at the hearings; on 31 May in Dunedin and 4 June in Invercargill.

The Committees can now recommend the Plan to their respective Councils for approval and then submit the Plan to the New Zealand Transport Agency. ORC will consider the plan at its 24 July full Council meeting in Cromwell. Environment Southland will consider the plan next month at a full Council meeting. The final submission date to NZTA is by 31 July 2024.

The current Otago Southland Regional Land Transport Plan was submitted to the New Zealand Transport Agency in June of 2021 and covered the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2027 in detail. This mid-term review of the Otago Southland Regional Land Transport Plans 2021-31 has now been completed by the Combined Committees.