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51. This section sets out the framework for GPS 2015.

A. Purpose of the GPS

52. The Land Transport Management Act 2003(external link) (the Act) requires the Minister of Transport to issue a GPS.

53. The GPS outlines the Government’s strategy to guide land transport investment over the next 10 years. It also provides guidance to decision-makers about where the Government will focus resources, consistent with the purpose of the Act, which is:

“To contribute to an effective, efficient, and safe land transport system in the public interest”.[3]

54. Without limiting the legal interpretation of these terms, for the purpose of GPS 2015, a land transport system is:

  • effective where it moves people and freight where they need to go in a timely manner
  • efficient where it delivers the right infrastructure and services to the right level at the best cost
  • safe where it reduces the harms from land transport
  • in the public interest where it supports economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing.

55. In setting out the Government’s investment strategy for land transport, the GPS identifies the national land transport objectives it wants pursued, allocates funding in ranges to different types of activities and sets out the results it expects from that investment.

56. The Agency, the New Zealand Police and approved organisations[4] will use the framework in the Act to deliver investment across New Zealand that is prioritised and coordinated.

57. While the GPS provides a national picture for investment, the detail of how funding is allocated to specific activities is the responsibility of the Agency. This is expressed in the National Land Transport Programme (the Programme) which is published every three years.

58. A full description of what the GPS must include, and how it links with national and regional land transport planning, is provided in Appendix A.

59. GPS 2015 covers the financial period 2015/16 to 2024/25. The land transport investment strategy, which is included in the GPS, must be reviewed every 3 years.


B. Framework for GPS 2015

60. The Act requires a GPS to include a number of components. These components have been grouped in GPS 2015 so that they move from high level policy direction, to the more detailed investment strategy, through to the machinery provisions about funding flows. Collectively, they cover all the requirements of the GPS found in the Act.

61. The following table sets out the order in which the various statutory elements of GPS 2015 are presented.[5]

GPS 2015 framework

Strategic direction

Objectives and long term results

Investment strategy

Funding and financing

National Land Transport objectives: What the Government wants land transport to deliver

Long term results: What the Government wants to achieve from the allocation of funding from the Fund over at least 10years

Activity classes: Types of activities to which funding will be allocated

Long term results: Key results for each activity class

Short to medium term results: What the Government wants to achieve from the allocation of funding over 1-3 and 3-6 years

Funding ranges: Funding ranges for activity classes and reporting metrics

Expectations: How the Agency gives effect to the GPS

Funding: How revenue and expenditure flows should be managed

Financing: The expectations about use of financing, including borrowing to manage the Fund

Revenue for land transport

C. Scope of GPS 2015

National Land Transport Fund (the Fund)

62. GPS 2015 sets funding ranges for investment from the Fund in different activity classes (see Table 4). The Agency allocates that funding to activities to give effect to the objectives, results and expectations set out in the GPS. Some of the activity classes relate to land transport activities that are the responsibility of local government, such as local roads, public transport, and Regional Land Transport Plans. These activities are jointly funded with local government.

Crown contributions

63. For the period to 2024/25, a number of land transport projects and activities will be funded through annual Crown appropriations rather than though the Fund. This includes funding for capital investment in Wellington and Auckland metro rail, the SuperGold Card free off-peak public transport scheme, the Accelerated Regional Roading Programme, and the Urban Cycleway Programme (further information about this work is set out in Section 3).

64. Where the Crown makes a contribution, it may do so in the form of grants or loans. Grant funding does not need to be repaid, whereas loans to bring forward investments do need to be repaid from future revenues to the Fund.

65. Any Crown contributions are recorded in the GPS (see Table 5).

Rail freight, coastal shipping and freight transfer facilities

66. While the Minister of Transport has a role in guiding coordination within the rail sector, and between the rail, road and maritime transport sectors, investment in rail freight services and infrastructure is not currently covered under the GPS.

67. Investment in rail freight services and infrastructure is managed by KiwiRail under the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986(external link). There are no current Crown appropriations to rail freight within the scope of GPS 2015. Any future Crown appropriations to KiwiRail would be reflected in the GPS. Investment in urban passenger rail services that are contracted by local government, and uses revenue from the Fund and local rates, is covered under GPS 2015.

68. Coastal shipping services, ports and airports are considered when planning for land transport services that link to these facilities, but operate on a commercial basis without investment from the Fund. The GPS does not authorise the use of Fund revenue for these activities.

69. Nevertheless, there is benefit in having the Agency, KiwiRail and local authorities involved in land transport investment coordinating their activities, where possible. GPS 2015 provides guidance about the priority to be given to investment that links to other networks (see Table 3).

Land use planning

70. The relationship between land use planning and transport planning is established by the Resource Management Act 1991(external link) and the Land Transport Management Act 2003(external link). Transport planning determines what investment will be undertaken, and is dealt with under the Land Transport Management Act 2003 (for example whether a bypass is proposed and whether it is built). Land use planning regulates how investment can be undertaken, and is dealt with by the Resource Management Act 1991 (for example, whether the alignment of a future bypass is safeguarded from other development, and how the local effects of the bypass are mitigated when the bypass is built).

71. The GPS directs transport planning and informs land use planning processes. For instance, transport planning can identify a network hierarchy that maximises the productivity of a transport system in line with the GPS, but is reliant on land use planning to secure development controls on adjacent land in a way that is consistent with that network hierarchy. The statement of priorities, objectives and results in the GPS enables well-informed decision making in each area, while respecting the difference between regulatory and investment planning processes.


72. The development and design of land transport regulation is outside the scope of the GPS. Transport regulation includes Acts of Parliament (for example, the Transport Act 1962), transport regulations (for example, the Heavy Motor Vehicle Regulations 1974) and transport rules (for example, bridge weight limits). Land transport regulation is undertaken by a range of public bodies, including the Ministry of Transport, the Agency, local authorities, and the New Zealand Police.

73. GPS 2015 includes a focus on the better understanding of the funding implications of regulatory policy, particularly in the fields of safety and environmental regulation.

74. A future GPS could include transport regulation within the scope of its objectives, policies and measures. Decisions to further investigate these issues lie outside the GPS and may require legislative change.

Future developments in systems and technology

75. One of the challenges faced by network service providers across New Zealand is responding to developments in technology and demand. Accommodating current needs while avoiding barriers to likely future use is especially challenging.

76. There is considerable scope for innovation in the way that the land transport system is delivered, as examined in the Government’s Intelligent Transport Systems Technology Action Plan 2014-18 (the ITS Technology Action Plan). This includes a wide spectrum of systems, from the more extensive use of electronic payment methods and asset management practices that increase the productivity of existing networks, through to technologies such as LED lighting, that can reduce operating costs.

77. The ITS Technology Action Plan anticipates that, over the coming decade, technology will play an increasing part in managing network access and capacity. We have seen that relatively small scale initiatives, such as improved trafficlight phasing and ramp metering, have led to measurable improvements in traffic flows in the Auckland network. Other initiatives, such as integrated ticketing, the greater use of Global Positioning Systems and smart phones are improving the availability of real time travel information.

78. This greatly supports new travel demand management initiatives. Securing these and other productivity improvements that can be achieved through cost effective investment in existing technologies is within the scope of the current GPS.

79. The regulation of potential in-vehicle technologies that interact with fixed infrastructure is currently outside the scope of the GPS. There are promising developments in the fields of collision avoidance technology, autonomous vehicles and in-vehicle telematics, which will affect how we manage vehicles and networks efficiently. For example, lane control technology and automatic braking systems are increasingly common in new vehicles and could enable significantly reduced separation distances between vehicles, thereby improving traffic flows and increasing network productivity.

80. Improved communication between vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure (variously known as connected vehicles or Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) also has potential to improve traffic flow and safety. This technology is still in its infancy, but may ultimately involve investment in new infrastructure to transmit and process information.

81. Mechanisms with longer-term potential to improve the performance of the land transport system, such as more sophisticated road pricing than is delivered by the current Road User Charges system, could be included in a future GPS. Decisions to further investigate these issues lie outside of GPS 2015.

82. GPS 2015 provides for reporting on innovation and technology investment across the Fund and the associated net benefits, but does not endorse any specific form of technology in view of the speed of evolution.


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[3] Section 3 of the Land Transport Management Act 2003.

[4] Approved organisations: territorial authorities, regional councils, AucklandTransport, the Department of Conservation and the Waitangi National Trust Board.

[5] This framework reflects changes made to the Land Transport Management Act 2003 that came into effect in June 2013, and which affect the form and function of the GPS.