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The Ministry of Transport’s purpose is enabling New Zealanders to flourish

Transport is essential for the lives of every New Zealander – it allows us to access economic and social opportunities within New Zealand and to connect globally. For New Zealanders to flourish we need an effective, healthy and safe domestic transport system with strong links to the rest of the world.

New Zealand has a vibrant transport sector, which provides around four and a half percent of New Zealand’s employment and five percent of our gross domestic product. In total, the Government has $60 billion worth of transport assets, including 11,000 kilometres of State highways, 84,000 kilometres of local roads and over 4,000 kilometres of rail track. New Zealand has 14 exporting ports and five international airports.

The Government invests over $4 billion in the transport network each year – around 1.5 percent of New Zealand’s GDP.

This investment is made across a range of transport modes to enable business and individuals to maximise their economic and social well-being. 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 uniquely placed to influence the future transport system. Our purpose os enabling New Zealanders to flourish.

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

The Ministry provides 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 economic and social benefits for New Zealand and minimises harm. To do this, we must have a good base knowledge of the transport sector. We also need to understand the future drivers for transport and their implications for Government policy and investment decisions. 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 all users, organisations and local authorities that participate in the transport system 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 to 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 New Zealand Limited to provide public weather warning and forecast services.

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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 for them to successfully undertake their own roles for our outcomes to be achieved.

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Key management personnel as at 30 June 2017

Peter Mersi, Chief Executive and Secretary for Transport.
Lisa Barrett, Acting General Manager Organisational Development
Nick Brown, General Manager Aviation and Maritime
Gareth Chaplin, General Manager Sector Performance
Andrew Jackson, Deputy Chief Executive
Mike James, General Manager Road and Rail.


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