As a trading nation, we rely on transport infrastructure and services to get our goods to our international markets, and to move goods around the country. The transport system is also an important enabler of economic growth and social connectivity within communities, and through this, is able to make an important contribution to the government’s Business Growth Agenda.

However, the transport sector is an important part of the New Zealand economy in its own right. The sector employs more than 83,000 people, and the transport and storage 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 approximately $3 billion in it each year. This investment is primarily in the land transport system.

The Ministry of Transport’s purpose is to ensure we have a transport system that helps New Zealand thrive. To achieve this, the Ministry is focused on developing a transport system that maximises the economic and social benefits to New Zealand and minimises harm. 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’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 policy advice to the Minister and Associate Minister of Transport to shape transport policy for New Zealand. Our role is not dissimilar to that of a coach of a sporting team, sitting in the coach’s box in the grandstand and being able to see the whole game being played in front of us. If we are effective, we can influence the ‘transport game’ in two ways:

  • by seeing emerging issues and long-term trends, we can help the government ensure the ‘rules of the game’ are fit for purpose. That is, the regulatory, investment and policy settings are appropriate to ensure we have a transport system that helps New Zealand thrive
  • by effective oversight of the government’s transport agencies, we can help the government ensure its ‘players on the field’ are positioned to play their role effectively. That is ensuring they are well governed, strategically aligned and capable of doing what is required of them as part of the government’s ‘team’. This is a particularly important role, especially in the context of the government’s drive for Better Public Services.

And 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
  • administering fuel excise duty refunds (contracted to the New Zealand Transport Agency)
  • representing New Zealand at international fora
  • licensing all international airlines operating to and from New Zealand
  • managing 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 (MetService) to provide a public weather warning and forecast service.

But we need to work with others to achieve our outcomes

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.

What we are part of

The New Zealand government transport sector includes the Minister of Transport, the Associate Minister of Transport, four Crown entities, three State-owned enterprises and one Crown established trust.  These entities and their functions are explained in this diagram (PDF, 80.7 kb).

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