The Ministry has invested significantly in its capability over the last three years. We have improved our performance and capability by being clear about our purpose, employing an innovative operating model, focusing on quality and leading change well.

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) Review in early 2013 confirmed that the Ministry had set itself the right goals, but that it needed to step up the pace of change. The Ministry responded very positively to this review and set out to lift our strategic focus on a selection of major transport issues. The Ministry also aimed to improve the quality and consistency of our advice overall and engage more effectively with stakeholders through the delivery of a two-year organisational change plan.

The two-year plan focused on five streams of work: embedding our purpose and philosophy, improving our operating model, improving our external engagement and reputation, lifting our strategic policy capability, and improving the quality and consistency of our policy advice. The focus on these initiatives has paid off, with the follow-up PIF review in 2014 finding the Ministry had made significant progress and confirmed it was on track to achieving its vision.

The next phase of responding to the PIF will be the development of an organisational development plan for the Ministry, to be implemented from July 2015. This plan will aim to lift the strategic capability of Ministry staff, continue the focus on targeted professional development opportunities, and will include a future-focused approach on how we adopt new technologies to allow us to work more smartly and efficiently.

This next phase of organisational development for the Ministry will continue to nurture a culture where people are challenged and highly engaged in their work.

A future-focused Ministry

Over the next four years, strategic capability of our staff will be lifted by:

  • significantly enhancing our focus on achieving our greatest imaginable challenge — to ‘create the environment to double the value of transport initiatives’
  • delivering more thought leadership projects
  • strengthening our relationships with and understanding of our stakeholders.

Our focus on performance over the next four years will help the Ministry to deliver consistently high-quality policy advice that will help New Zealand thrive.

A smart, strategic and responsive workforce culture

The Ministry’s operating model allows us to move resources around to ensure staff with the right skills are working on the right priorities. Over the last three years, the Ministry has focused on ensuring our teams are structured so we can operate effectively, and that our staff have the right capabilities. We have also made a significant commitment to staff development through initiatives such as:

  • growing and developing our leaders through on-the-job learning, secondment and acting up opportunities, and targeted learning
  • offering a structured development programme to lift policy capability for graduates through to principal advisers, as well as rotation, secondments and acting up arrangements.

A combination of the Ministry’s unique operating model and strategic two-year change programme has resulted in a workforce that is highly engaged. Staff are motivated by the opportunities that a flexible work environment provides. This is shown by the Ministry’s Gallup engagement score, which increased from 3.98 in 2013 to 4.08 in 2014 (the highest in the public sector).

Managing functions and operations

Shared business services

The Ministry works closely with the Civil Aviation Authority, Maritime New Zealand and the NZ Transport Agency. Together we have a Transport Sector Collaboration and Capability Strategy, which is a joint programme to consider opportunities for collaboration across the transport sector. This aims to:

  • increase agility and responsiveness
  • improve organisational and sector knowledge
  • enable our people to be effective
  • work more effectively with customers and stakeholders
  • improve efficiency and deliver maximum valuefor money
  • build capability across the transport sector.

Risk management

The Ministry manages risk through business processes such as strategy and priority setting, policy advice, operational planning, monitoring and reporting, and project management. In particular, the Ministry’s policy work programme is always at risk of reprioritisation as a result of the Minister’s decisions.

Overseeing strategic risk is the responsibility of the Ministry’s leadership team. Regular reviews of the Ministry’s risk management framework ensure risks are identified and managed. The Ministry also has a well established Performance and Risk Advisory Group to provide advice to the Ministry’s leadership team.

The Ministry has managed under a capped workforce baseline since 2009 by maintaining a flexible organisational structure. Any consequent risks become development priorities, and there is ongoing review to ensure we keep the skill sets that we need to fulfil our role and deliver our priorities.

Managing our costs

The Ministry’s flexible matrix operating model enables us to focus our resources on the highest priority issues for the Government, and helps to ensure we can manage within our appropriations from Parliament.

We also participate in Government benchmarking exercises which compare our cost structures with others. We will continue to seek innovative ways of working to enable us to deliver value for money.

Equal employment opportunities

The Ministry is committed to inclusive work practices and culture. We have a robust recruitment approach and base appointments on merit, while recognising the employment aspirations of Māori, diverse ethnic and minority groups, women, and people with disabilities.

Assessing organisational capability and health

The Ministry uses a range of measures to assess its capability and health, and to measure progress towards its goals. The headline measures on which we provide year-by-year comparative data and information in our annual reports are shown below.

Core capability

  • The total number of person-years applied, including permanent and contract staff, in our three broad activity areas of policy advice, specialist support, and business support.
  • The results of any external reviews conducted on the quality or efficiency of our core operating and information systems.

Organisational health

  • Trends in staff engagement survey results.
  • Other measures of health, such as turnover, will be reported if warranted by trends.

We will report on these measures annually

The Ministry will publish these indicators in its annual report each year to assess its organisational capability and health.

Departmental capital and asset management intentions

Each year the Ministry prepares a capital programme to ensure the Ministry has the infrastructure required to fulfil its functions. The draft programme is subject to approval by management. The assets of the Ministry and the capital programme are detailed briefly below.

Property, plant and equipment

The Ministry of Transport operates from two offices, with most staff at the main site in Wellington. All of its premises are leased, so the majority of the assets are leasehold improvements, computer equipment, fixtures and fittings.

Leasehold improvements

The Ministry moved into its Wellington office in April 2006 and into its Auckland office in July 2005. The Wellington office lease expires in 2018, although there is a three-year right of renewal. The Ministry is participating in the All of Government Wellington Accommodation Project, which aims to benefit participants by:

  • utilising economies of scale
  • getting best value for money
  • creating a robust framework for procurement of accommodation
  • offering a central pool of expertise.

Therefore, the Ministry may be moving its Wellington office in 2018. As this is not certain, it has not been provided for in the capital programme shown below.

Computer equipment

The Ministry has a three-to-five-year rolling replacement programme for computer equipment.

Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome

The Ministry owns the infrastructure at Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome.

Fixtures and fittings

All of the Ministry’s offices are fully equipped, but we need to make small ongoing purchases of replacement or additional equipment.

Intangible assets

The Ministry has an investment in its own operational systems. A programme is in place to ensure systems continue to be fit for purpose.

Proposed capital programme










Property, plant and equipment





Intangible assets — software











The Ministry has emergency management plans in place and is developing business continuity plans that can be activated if there is a building, local, regional or national emergency.

In a national emergency, the Ministry and transport agenciesprovide strategic leadership to the sector to ensure it can respond quickly and effectively. We maintain the Transport National Emergency Response Plan, which sets out procedures to activate the Transport Response Team.

This team, managed by the Ministry, ensures the Ministry and transport agencies provide coordinated advice in a whole-of-government response to a national emergency. The plan continues to be developed, incorporating lessons learned from emergency exercises and events.

Key Ministry performance management measures

The Ministry is committed to increasing its overall effectiveness and ensuring that we are doing the best job we can with the resources available to us. The key performance management measures that the Ministry will use in 2015/16 are set out below.

Input management

The Ministry measures the quality and subsequent cost of our advice using policy advice benchmarks set by the Treasury. In 2013/14, the total cost of an hour of professional staff time devoted to policy advice and other policy unit outputs was $154.00 (not including outsourced costs).

To maximise the value of staff skills, experience and knowledge, we apply project management disciplines to our policy projects, including explicit time frames and milestones.

We are looking to develop new performance management measures to enable us to benchmark our performance and improve productivity. In the meantime, we can measure how well we deliver our projects on time and to budget.

Our targets are:

  • to maintain a total cost of an hour of professional staff time devoted to policy advice and other policy unit outputs at or below $154.00 (not including outsourced costs)
  • to have 75 per cent of policy project milestones delivered each quarter.

Quality management

Each year we have a sample of our policy advice papers audited by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research. This audit provides us with an independent view of the quality of our advice and areas that could be improved, and compares the quality of our advice with that of other government agencies.

We have begun reviewing all advice papers ourselves, using the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research criteria.

Our targets are:

  • at least 90 per cent of regulatory impact statements are assessed as ‘meets’ or ‘partially meets’ the required standards
  • at least 75 per cent of policy advice briefings are accepted the first time by the Minister
  • New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s audit of policy advice papers assesses the average score for our papers as within a range of 7.2 to 7.5.

Work programme management

Our annual output plan is a statement of the results that the Minister wants from the Ministry. In our annual reports, we record the percentage of the whole output plan that has been delivered.

  • Our target is to have 95 per cent or more of the output plan delivered as agreed with the Minister.

Outcomes management

The Ministry monitors the progress that the whole transport sector is making towards the long-term outcomes of a transport system that is effective, efficient, resilient, safe and responsible. We use our published outcome indicators as a measure of the overall progress being made, and to help identify further opportunities for the Ministry to contribute.

We will report on these measures annually

The Ministry will publish these indicators in its annual report each year to assess its cost-effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.


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