New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc) Media Release, 10 August 2023
For immediate release
Waka Kotahi/NZTA recently released its latest revisions for the values used in its investment appraisals for preventing fatalities, serious injuries and minor injuries. These values will be primarily used in transport appraisals, but they will have a wider influence with other agencies, emulated by some and potentially affecting the efficiency of safety investments across the government sector.
This Insight explains the reasons and methods used by economists in attaching values relating to safety to ensure it is given due consideration alongside other more readily calculable items in cost-benefit analysis, such as values of savings in travel time, vehicle operating costs and emissions.
It describes how New Zealand was innovative in the 1980s in adopting a new valuation based on risk, but it has taken a long time to get around to updating and revising that valuation.It also describes how the new values for safety adopted for transport appraisal have an influence outside the transport field and leads to a widening spread of values used for safety assessments across government agencies.
This has implications for the consistency of publicly mandated safety initiatives across government which point to the need for more guidance on considering the economic value of safety improvements across public agencies and the efficiency of investments made.