The Ministry's nature and scope

As a trading nation, New Zealand relies on transport infrastructure and services to get goods to international markets, to move goods around the country and to enable social connectivity within communities. In addition, the transport sector is an important part of the New Zealand economy in its own right. For example, the transport, postal and warehousing industry employs more than 85,000 people, and this industry accounts for 5.2 percent of New Zealand’s GDP.

Transport is different from many other sectors of the economy in that the government directly invests more than $3 billion in it each year. This is primarily in the land transport system.

The Ministry of Transport has a broad responsibility to provide advice across the whole of the transport system and the regulatory framework that supports it. The Ministry is focused on developing a transport system that maximises the economic and social benefits to New Zealand and minimises the harm that arises from the system. To do that, the Ministry needs a good base knowledge of the transport sector. It also needs to understand the future drivers for transport and their implications for government policy and investment decisions.

The transport Crown entities have regulatory and service delivery roles to meet their statutory responsibilities and the government’s objectives for transport. The Ministry has a role in ensuring that activities are aligned across the transport sector.

The Ministry’s role is to advise on policy

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

  • understand the transport environment and how firms and local authorities will respond to different settings
  • lead thinking on strategy for the success of the overall system
  • facilitate conversations with the transport sector to join up their activities to improve the performance of the transport system
  • advise on the structure of the transport Crown entities and their capabilities (including funding and governance).

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 fora
  • licensing all international airlines operating to and from New Zealand
  • refunding fuel excise duty (contracted to the NZ Transport Agency)
  • 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 a public weather warning and forecast service.

Working with others

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 hundreds 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.


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