New Zealand’s state-controlled transport infrastructure is third world, and it is strangling us and our economy. There is no need for the state to own and operate a country’s transport, nor is there any need for the process of building new roads to be politicised as it has been.
Under a Libertarianz government, state-controlled roads, rail lines, ports and airports will be taken out of government hands as soon as practically possible, and either transferred to New Zealanders who have already paid for them, or sold and the money returned to existing superannuitants in the form of secure annuities.
At the same time, all legislation protecting these government monopolies will be abolished—including the Public Works Act that allows private property to be confiscated for public works.
Trains, Planes and Airports
Immediate open-market tendering of the country’s airports, ports and rail infrastructure will see truly competitive operators, and encourage a more efficient transport system.
All proceeds received from the sale of government-owned transport related businesses, land and improvements would be used to pay back government debt. Any remaining balance will be given back to taxpayers.
Covenants attached to public infrastructure sales (roading, railways, etc) would help ensure maintenance of minimum safety standards and continued accessibility to all.
Roads – Local and Express
A similar method of open-market tendering will be used to divest some of the roading network, although much of it should be able to be returned to local property owners in the form of shares. For example:
Local roads in suburban areas
Shares in local roads would be distributed on a subdivision by subdivision basis to those who own property in each of those subdivisions. Share recipients could choose to sell or retain these shares as they wish. Ownership of each subdivision’s roads would then be held in a body corporate structure, under the control of those who live there.
Shares in roads between towns, e.g. the road between Thames and Paeroa, would be distributed to those living in those towns, and to all those living along the route or tributaries thereof. Share recipients could choose to sell or retain these shares as they wish. Ownership of each of these highways would then be held in a body corporate structure, under the control of those who live there. Tolls may be charged if owners so wish, or, as is the case already with shopping malls and the like, maintenance and new roading could be paid for from revenues derived from advertising, and from commercial premises along the highways’ margins.
Ownership of existing motorways in major cities, such as the Auckland motorway network, could be distributed as shares to all those living in the Auckland areas. Other portions of it could easily be sold in an open-market tender operation. Consideration of the most desirable basis for divesting the state from ownership of the motorways would proceed on a case-by-case basis.
Owning shares in a roading network “body corporate” may sound strange to some, but it is worth reflecting that this is presently how most marinas, shopping centres, apartment complexes and existing private roads already easily and conveniently sort out their ownership structure.
Control of roads would lie in the hands of those who own them, without the need to harass councils, bureaucrats or politicians to get things done.
Of course, as we already see in the case of shopping malls and marinas, there is no incentive for owners to bar entry to roads—instead, a clear incentive exists for owners to maximize entry in order to attract revenue. In addition, common law rules already ensure that no-one may be “islanded” by removal of an access right.
Removing the state’s transport monopoly and abolishing the Resource Management Act opens up the market for private operators to get involved in building new roads, and operating existing ones.
Routes for new toll roads can be created without government bullying by the purchase of “options”, such options being exercised once a route was put together with the voluntary agreement of those whose land is being used.
In addition, as and when holders of infrastructure shares wish to sell, private operators could purchase control of existing infrastructure. Trading in these shares allows ownership to end in the hands of those who most value the infrastructure. It also allows those who first paid for that infrastructure, i.e., taxpayers, to get back some portion of their money should they wish.
Future, newly created transport infrastructure by private interests would not be subject to covenants or restrictions. Competitive pressures would be the main factor driving safety, access and price levels for users. If any particular operator did not meet the expected community standards, this would create an opportunity for another operator to compete against or buy and improve any inadequate services.
Rolling back the State
With the removal of state control comes the end of petrol taxes, ACC levies, transport-related rates, regos, WoFs and police-operated speed cameras. All these will swiftly become bureaucratic vestiges of the past, as will resource consents and having to wait 20 years for a transport system upgrade.
No longer will the rights of private property owners be trampled upon by officials in the name of their social agenda; projects forcing private land owners to give others access to their land, or to sell it, simply would not exist.
The current system of cronyism, government-private partnerships and currying of favours to win projects will be replaced by developers and contractors having to compete fairly for a project and attract private rather than public (stolen) capital to win contracts.
Owners and operators will become the ones determining which drivers and vehicles are allowed to use their property (within the framework of the relevant sale covenants in the case of existing roads). In order to prohibit or suspend a particular driver or vehicle from using their road(s), for instance, an owner or operator would need to apply to the courts for a ruling against the offender on the grounds that they or their vehicles are causing a danger or are a nuisance to other motorists; that toll fees haven’t been paid; or that a crime has been committed (i.e., an actual victim exists).
Courts will only be able to impose fines or jail time on motorists for committing real crimes (to life or property).
In short we will all be free to get on with our lives unencumbered by bureaucratic nonsense.
“Bring on the Gridlock!” Says Libertarianz Leader
03 July 2008
Libertarian leader Bernard Darnton applauds New Zealand’s truckers, who are leading the way in saying to this busybody government: “Naff off!”
Oil Price Inquiry Mere Grandstanding
16 June 2008
“Grandstanding! Nothing more than hypocritical grandstanding,” is how Libertarianz Transport spokesman Michael Murphy described Commerce Minister Lianne Daiziel’s recently announced inquiry into oil pricing.
Libz oppose petrol tax increase
28 February 2005
“It is an outrageous additional imposition by the Labour, Green and United Future parties to hike petrol tax by 5.6 cents a litre when Dr Cullen is already confiscating billions of dollars from New Zealand’s taxvictims,” announced Libertarianz Leader – and his party’s candidate for Wellington Central – Bernard Darnton.
Rail retards should get out of the way of RailAmerica bid
16 May 2003
“The Rail Freight Action Group, Alliance retards and the Green Party should stump up their own money to buy Tranz Rail, or else stop bleating on about RailAmerica’s bid for TranzRail shares,” announced Libertarianz Transport Deregulation Spokesman Michael Murphy today. “And I mean THEIR own money – not mine or that of other tax victims!”