Transport gets people and goods to where they need to be. It links our homes, workplaces and social lives, and supports New Zealand’s prosperity. Trade depends on efficient and reliable freight movements both within New Zealand, and to and from our ports. Businesses, services and tourism depend on an effective and safe transport system, connecting our country to the rest of the world.

The transport system is unlike many parts of the economy, in that the Government has a direct role as owner and investor. Much of the transport infrastructure is Government owned, including $60 billion of road 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.

The Ministry administers New Zealand’s transport legislation, comprising 270 pieces of law designed to keep users of the transport system safe, and minimise harm to the environment.

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

Much of our work is providing policy advice to the Minister and Associate Minister of Transport. The Ministry advises Government on all issues relating to transport and the regulatory framework that supports it. We are focused on maximising the economic and social benefits to New Zealand from transport and minimising its harm. This requires us to maintain a good base knowledge of the transport sector, and an understanding of the factors that will affect transport in the future and of their implications for government policy and investment decisions.

The Ministry also advises the Government on the funding and governance of the transport Crown entities.

We undertake a number of other functions

In addition to our core roles in policy, regulation and Crown entity oversight, the Ministry’s other functions include:

  • representing New Zealand at internationaltransport forums
  • licensing international airlines operating to andfrom New Zealand
  • 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 a public weather warning and forecast service
  • refunding fuel excise duty (contracted to the NZ Transport Agency).

We work with others to improve the transport sector

The Ministry advises the Government and influences the policy and regulatory settings under which the transport system operates. 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.

Key players in the Government transport sector are the Minister and Associate Minister of Transport, the Ministry of Transport, four transport Crown entities and three State-owned enterprises. The roles of these organisations are set out in the diagram on page 6.

The New Zealand Government Transport Sector

Minister of Transport and Associate Minister of Transport

The Ministry of Transport provides impartial, expert advice to the government to help it meet its objectives for transport. This includes advice on legislative, regulatory and policy settings; funding levels and priorities; and Crown agency governance, performance and accountability. The Ministry also represents the government’s transport interests internationally.

Civil Aviation Authority (including the Aviation Security Service)

Civil Aviation Authority

Establishes and monitors civil aviation safety and security standards, carries out air accident and incident investigations, and promotes aviation safety and personal security.

Aviation Security Service

Provides aviation security services for international and domestic air operations, including airport security, passenger and baggage screening.

Maritime New Zealand

Promotes commercial and recreational vessel safety, marine environment protection standards, and monitors port and ship security. Controls entry to the maritime system through granting of maritime documents and inspection of ships, and advises on international conventions. Investigates maritime accidents and coordinates category II search and rescue. Provides oil spill preparedness and response, navigation aids and the distress and safety radio communications system.

NZ Transport Agency

Allocates funding for land transport infrastructure and services through the National Land Transport Programme. Manages access to the transport system through driver and vehicle licensing, vehicle inspections and rules development. Provides land transport safety and sustainability information and education. Manages the State highway network, including maintenance, improvements and operations activities.

Transport Accident Investigation Commission

(Independent Crown agency) Investigates significant air, maritime and rail accidents and incidents to determine their cause and circumstances so that similar occurrences are avoided in future.

Three state-owned enterprises with transport functions

Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd

Provides air navigation and air traffic management services on a commercial basis. It is also responsible for air traffic services in 28.8 million square kilometres of international airspace managed by New Zealand.

Meteorological Sercive of New Zealand Limited (MetService)

Provides public weather forecasting services and provides meteorological information for international air navigation under contract to the Civil Aviation Authority.

KiWIrail holdings limited

(trading as KiwiRail Group). KiwiRail manages the rail and ferry businesses owned by the New Zealand Government.

Local Government

Local authorities own, maintain and develop New Zealand’s local road network and perform important regulatory transport functions. Local government funds land transport infrastructure and public transport services alongside central government, and is responsible for transport planning and land use planning. Some local authorities own seaports and airports, or share ownership with the Crown.

New Zealand Police

Provides road policing services including speed management, drink/drugged driving enforcement, seatbelt enforcement, a visible road safety presence and commercial vehicle investigation. Also provides maritime patrol units.


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