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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Departmental Organisation

There are four State Departments concerned with the administration of transport – Railways, Civil Aviation, Marine, and Transport. The National Roads Board, comprising representatives of road users, local bodies, and Government officials, makes independent decisions of great importance to road transport. Although one minister holds the portfolios of Railways, Transport, and Civil Aviation, each of these Departments reports directly to him. There are no other technical or specialist advisers interposed between the Minister and his Departments to help to resolve the inevitable conflicts of interest. The Transport Department, when it came into being in 1929, was given some general responsibility for coordination, but it was also charged with the detailed administration of the economic and safety laws relating to road transport. These have become so complex and numerous that today its limited resources are spent almost entirely on regulating road transport. In contrast with the practices of other countries, it is deeply involved in traffic-law enforcement – work which in 1929 was considered to belong essentially to the police and not to the then newly formed Transport Department. On 31 March 1965, 356 of its staff of 768 were uniformed traffic officers.

The lack of cohesion in the administrative structure and the small resources of the Transport Department have, so far, prevented the carrying out of any logical national transport policy. The report of the Royal Commission on the State Services drew attention to the need for a departmental reorganisation to improve coordination, the formulation of transport policy, and the control of public expenditure on transport. At the time of writing the Government has not pronounced on these recommendations; sectional interests would seem to prefer the status quo.