The Ministry of Transport’s purpose is to ensure that our transport system helps New Zealand to thrive

The New Zealand transport system connects us to each other. It links our homes, our families, our workplaces and our social lives. Transport helps us get to where we need to be, and enables us to get what we need to carry out our daily life.


Our transport system also has a crucial role to play in supporting the prosperity of New Zealand. Trade is reliant on efficient and reliable freight movements within New Zealand, and to and from our ports. Our tourism sector is dependent on an effective and safe transport system, connecting our country to the rest of the world.

While there are many players in the transport sector, unlike many parts of the economy the government has a direct role as owner of much of the transport system. This is comprised of $60 billion in roading assets and more than $1 billion of rail assets.

Central and local government invest more than $4 billion a year to maintain and develop this asset base, and to provide services that use these assets.

To keep users of the transport system safe and to minimise harm to the environment, the Ministry administers 270 pieces of transport law.

The Ministry is the government’s principal adviser on transport policy

The Ministry has broad responsibility to provide advice to government on issues across the whole of the transport system, and the regulatory framework that supports it. We are focused on developing a transport system that maximises the economic and social benefits to New Zealand and minimises harm. To do this we must have a good base knowledge of the transport sector, and we need to understand the future drivers for transport and their implications for government policy and investment decisions.

The Ministry is the government’s principal adviser on transport policy. The vast majority of our work is providing advice to the Minister and Associate Minister of Transport. Our role is to:

  • understand the transport environment and how organisations and local authorities will respond to different settings
  • lead thinking on strategy for the success of the overall system
  • facilitate conversations across the transport sector to align activities that will improve the performance of the transport system
  • advise on the funding and governance of the transport Crown entities.

We undertake a number of other functions

In addition to our core policy and Crown entity oversight roles, the Ministry also has responsibility for other functions.

These include:

  • administering transport legislation, rules and regulations
  • representing New Zealand at international transport fora
  • licensing all international airlines operating to and from New Zealand refunding fuel excise duty (contracted to the NZ Transport Agency)
  • negotiating air service agreements
  • operating the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome
  • overseeing the Crown’s interest in joint venture airports
  • administering a contract with the Meteorological Service of NewZealand Limited to provide a public weather warning and forecast service.

We work with others to achieve outcomes for the transport sector

The Ministry has an important role in advising the government. However, we are only one of five organisations that make up the government transport sector, and one of many thousands that make up the whole transport sector.

As a policy agency, the Ministry is able to influence the policy and regulatory settings under which the transport system operates. But we need to work with other agencies, and need them to successfully undertake their own roles, for our outcomes to be achieved.

Key management personnel as at 30 June 2014

Martin Matthews, Chief Executive
Andrew Jackson, Deputy Chief Executive
Mike James, General Manager Road and Rail
Nick Brown, General Manager Aviation and Maritime
Gareth Chaplin, General Manager Sector Performance
Jo Harrison, General Manager Organisational Development

The New Zealand Government Transprot Sector image. Click on the image to download a pdf copy [PDF, 48 KB]

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