Regulatory authorities around the world have been developing best practice regulatory principles to lift the quality of regulation by changing the way it is made. Find out more about regulation in Transport below.

Regulatory principles often cover matters such as:

  • proving that government intervention is warranted
  • making sure regulation is risk-based and focuses enforcement on what matters
  • encouraging positive behaviour to achieve compliance or to avoid regulation altogether
  • ensuring interventions are proportional and set at the minimum level needed.

Transport regulatory system- Funding principles

This paper outlines a set of principles to guide funding reviews and advice on the appropriate funding sources for regulatory activities carried out within the transport regulatory system. Read the Transport regulatory system - Funding principles [PDF, 128 KB].

Regulatory tools

Regulation encompasses the diverse set of instruments used by government to:

  • influence people or control the way people as individuals or groups behave
  • achieve a diverse range of economic, social, safety and environmental policy objectives in the transport sector.

Traditionally, ‘regulation’ has been seen as establishing formal legal requirements by government, for example, by way of acts, regulations and rules.

A broader view of regulation takes in non-legislative policy tools such as information campaigns, education, persuasion, self-regulation or quasi-regulation (codes of practice, guidelines, etc., that can also influence behaviour).

Transport rules

Transport rules are a form of regulation. The Minister of Transport is empowered by primary legislation to make transport rules on issues covering land transport, civil aviation, maritime safety and marine protection issues.

The Land Transport Act 1998(external link), Civil Aviation Act 1990(external link) and the Maritime Transport Act 1994(external link)) vary to some extent as to what can be the subject matter of a rule and the matters that must be considered when making a rule. In general, however, transport rules govern the construction and maintenance of vessels, vehicles and aircraft, their operation and the licensing and certification of those who operate them or provide services in relation to their operation (including air traffic control and the creation of navigation routes).

Transport regulations prescribe fees, offences and penalties, often related to the enforcement of transport rules.

Phases of regulatory development and rule production

Diagram showing stages of regulatory development and rule production

Transport Rules Programme

The transport rules programme is a rolling programme of new rules, revocations and amendments managed by the Ministry of Transport. This programme helps to give effect to the Government’s priorities across the land, maritime and aviation transport sectors including, for example, improving road safety, protecting our marine environment and maintaining a safe aviation system. The approved 2018/19 Transport Rules Programme can be found below. 

The Transport Rules Programme 2018-19 [PDF, 218 KB]

Appendix Rules Projects 2018-19 [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Transport Regulatory Policy Statement

The Transport Regulatory Policy Statement: expectations for regulatory development and practice 2012 (PDF, 713kb) provides expectations for best practice regulatory development and implementation.

The policy objectives contained in the statement are as follows:

  • intervene to address safety, security and environmental harms, and to generate economic benefits – where there are net benefits from those interventions for New Zealanders
  • enable innovation, where appropriate, allowing regulated entities to choose how best to achieve compliance with transport regulatory interventions
  • facilitate productivity and growth by enabling the domestic and international movement of goods, services and people
  • implement regulatory interventions efficiently and effectively, including minimising administrative and compliance burdens.

The principles contained in the statement are to:

  • establish a case for government intervention — safety, security and environmental risks per se do not necessarily warrant a case for government action. The costs and benefits of taking action need to be considered
  • ensure transport regulatory activities are risk-based — risk assessment and empirical enquiry precedes and informs all aspects of regulatory development, design and implementation
  • encourage and reinforce positive behaviour as a first action — explore measures to positively encourage desired behaviours, prior to considering legislative intervention or increased enforcement in any effort to achieve regulatory objectives
  • ensure any intervention is proportional and set at the minimum level needed — the intrusiveness and restrictiveness of interventions should be minimised as much as possible and regulatory burdens should be proportionate to expected benefits
  • be flexible and durable — the regulatory regime should be able to evolve in response to changing circumstances. Regulated entities should be provided sufficient scope to adopt innovative and least-costly approaches to meet legal obligations
  • be certain — transport regulatory practices should be predictable, providing certainty to regulated entities, and be consistent with other regulatory practices and policies
  • be transparent and accountable — the development of legislative and non-legislative instruments, and associated implementation and enforcement approaches, should be transparent to regulated entities.

Rules handbook

The Ministry’s Regulatory Development and Rule Production Handbook 2012 is a companion to the Transport Regulatory Policy Statement. It is designed to assist the Ministry and transport agencies to develop regulatory interventions by standardising a process.

The handbook places high importance on applying quality risk and regulatory impact assessments to determine when and whether a legislative intervention is most appropriate. The handbook focuses particularly on developing rules.

The handbook clarifies the roles and accountabilities of the Ministry and transport agencies to build a shared understanding of expectations. Using common guidelines contributes to a regulatory development process that is transparent, consistent, timely and effective.

The Ministry’s regulatory priorities

The Ministry will review a number of economic, safety and security issues relating to the Civil Aviation Act 1990(external link)to ensure it is fit-for-purpose. We will also review the Airport Authorities Act 1966(external link).

The Ministry will actively manage the annual rules programme with the Civil Aviation Authority(external link), Maritime New Zealand(external link) and the New Zealand Transport Agency(external link) to ensure regulation is of good quality, and to improve safety and environmental outcomes.

The allocation of funding for Crown entity rule development will be moved onto a contestable basis.

This will allow funding to be allocated flexibly, in response to shifts in government rule-making priorities, while also recognising the need to retain and develop the skilled people needed for efficient and effective rule-making across the transport sector.

The Ministry will review the current Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999(external link), ensuring it reflects the needs of the transport system. The review aims to simplify and clarify the expression of the Rule, reducing and simplifying compliance requirements and transactions. We will begin work to simplify the Rule in early 2014.

The Vehicle Licensing Reform project identified opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden of the regimes, while ensuring the ongoing robustness and safety of the transport system.

Following Cabinet’s agreement to reform the warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness systems, the Ministry and the New Zealand Transport Agency are working on the implementation needed to realise an estimated $1.8 billion in benefits to motorists and businesses over 30 years.

We will complete an evaluation of the Road User Charges Act 2012, following its first year of operation. Recent reforms were the first major change to the system in 30 years. The evaluation will help assess the success of the changes in simplifying and modernising the system, removing opportunities for evasion, and reducing compliance costs for businesses and the public. It will inform ongoing implementation and maintenance.


Transport regulatory system- Funding principles, September 2018