Sunday, 10 July 2016

Land Transport New Zealand 2004 to 2008

In 2004 Land Transport NZ was formed when the LTSA merged with Transfund a small largely invisible agency with a budget in the billions tasked with co-funding local body roading and 100% funding the State Highway network.
Interestingly the LTSA brand was so strong that pretty much for the whole life of LTNZ it was referred to in the media and elsewhere as the LTSA. This was an irony since Transfund and it's management effectively took over the LTSA.
At the same time the Research team from LTSA got moved back to the MoT to bolster what had become a very small and under resourced Ministry. For CAS this was to prove to not be a good move as responsibility was split.

The merger saw the engineering team which had effectively survived more than three decades of reshapings, rebadging and reshufflings  get totally cannibalised to build the land transport program management side of the business. Some might say it was the rise of the bureaucrat in the funding area. Safety very definitely felt like the back seat of the bus.

CAS was placed in Doug Millers Performance Monitoring group with myself and Geoff Holland becoming Managers Performance Information, northern and southern respectively.
A third position was filled in Wellington for a time by Narbin Pradhan until he left to go to Australia - our loss.
After Nabin left James King filled in minus staff responsibilities.
The other two groups were Marianne McMillen and the Auditors and  Balt Gregorius and the Performance Measurement group.

Doug was an excellent manager and everyone liked and respected him, fair to say while we still got through the agenda I've never laughed so much during staff meetings.

Doug always made a point of coming in to say hello to my team in Auckland even if he wasn't actually in our building on business.

Geoff Holland looked after the South Island Road Safety Briefing Notes, I did the ones north of Taupo with Colin Morrison and James King kicking the rest for touch from Wellington. We continued to get them out the door on time for another four years. The three of us virtually driving the direction of road safety for the whole country in a very data driven, locally focused way.

Geoff and I with Simon Robson our former colleague of many years at the IPENZ conference in 2008 

Geoff, James and I met up in each others patches for regular "CAS at the coalface" meetings as we called them. Each one included a "field trip" to see first hand the issues faced by each region and it meant that if one of us was on leave cover from another region was better informed. Organisations can get very Wellington and HQ centric if you let them.

We worked well together as we all had similar backgrounds and knew each other so well we had some outstandingly robust discussions behind closed doors without anybody taking offence!!

James King (Wellington), Geoff Holland (Christchurch), Chris Hewitt (Auckland) 

With Doug's help I got two more people in my team, Lynette Billings and Karyn Van Dam. This let us finally get all the non-injury factor codes added to crashes and gave me some help with continuing to write the ever popular Briefing Notes. It also let us boost CAS training, liaise better with specialist groups at NZ Police eg the Serious Crash unit and generally get a little more into proactive data driven safety material.

Sofia Dennison and Lynette did most of the Police liaison delivering really informative sessions between Whangarei to Hamilton. The purpose here was to promote quality crash reports by showing Police how the data was actually used to reduce crashes. I ran similar sessions with the Police Intel staff which included CAS training.

Team "training" day at my place - an oft used venue for many years prior.
Lynette, Jo, me, Karyn, Marina (team leader), Warwick and Sofia

Doug also undertook a complete review of the CAS system, its productivity, the dispersed locations of the teams and the potential for the introduction of new technologies.
The conclusions were that productivity was good, the team placement was sound for strategic reasons and that there were opportunities for the Police to introduce new technologies for gathering data. As a result he funded (or co-funded) a trial of hand held ticketing devices in Southland. He also believed that the Agency was well placed to fully take over CAS management from the MoT.

Then followed yet another merger - with Transit the State Highway builder. 

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