Rural Women New Zealand have alerted me to the strange cast of the Road Safety Trust – an organisation funded by a crown monopoly that declined every grant application it received this year.
This quango is funded out of the sale of personalised plates. According to the 2007/08 annual report it made a $2.2 million surplus that year. They budgeted $2.33 million of grants and paid out just $150,000. And this year they have approved none it seems.
Radio NZ reports:
The independent trust is funded by a portion of profits from the sale of personalised plates and one of its aims is to hand out money for community safety initiatives.
The trust has been spending money on its own national campaign to reduce driver distraction and has rejected 14 applications from community groups for the year to June because they did not meet its criteria.
Among those rejected were the organisations Rural Women and Safekids.
Rural Women asked for money to create signs to remind drivers of the speed limit when passing school buses.
So we have this quango deciding to fund its own campaigns (which seem to mirror existing NZTA campaigns) and declining every community group’s application as not being innovative enough.
The campaign to remind drivers to slow down passing school buses seems very laudable. According to Rural Women NZ a pilot on SH58 has seen an average speed drop from 90 – 100 km/hr to 20 – 40 km/hr.
The Minister has said he will look into the trust. I think that would be an excellent idea. They are privileged to receive money from a state monopoly – personalised plates. And the purpose of the funding is not to empire build with massive reserves, or running solely their own advertising campaigns. If your criteria are so restrictive that not a single group can manage to qualify, that suggests there is a problem.
UPDATE: A reader has located where some of the money goes. The Road Safety Trust is an “Official Partner of both the Air New Zealand Cup Referees and Heartland Championship Referees for the 2009 season”.
That’s much better than getting cars to slow down for school buses!
Now I understand what they mean by restricting funding to innovative campaigns. Because no one has ever thought that you can reduce the road toll by sticking a meaningless slogan on a rugby referee’s shirt, they decided to innovate and try that to see what happens.
While billboards telling people to slow down for school buses doesn’t meet that all important innovation criteria.Tags: road safety, Road Safety Trust, Rural Women NZ