The New Zealand Government published guidelines in 2017 for departments with responsibility for developing and administering regulation. View these guidelines on the Treasury website(external link)

These stewardship expectations include responsibilities for:

  • monitoring, review and reporting on regulatory systems
  • robust analysis and implementation support for changes to regulatory systems, and
  • good regulator practice.

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's regulatory stewardship

The transport regulatory system encompasses three main modes of transport: land, aviation and maritime. Each contains regulatory components in common (such as licensing of people and certification of vehicles) and some that are different (such as international obligations). This is illustrated below:

Each of the transport modes interacts with other regulatory systems e.g.

  • International regulatory regimes
  • Space regulatory regime
  • Workplace health & safety regime
  • Environmental regulatory regimes
  • National security

A Transport System Regulatory Stewardship Plan for 2019 to 2022

This Stewardship plan has been jointly developed by the Ministry, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime New Zealand. The Plan:

  • Explains regulatory systems and regulatory stewardship.
  • Describes the transport regulatory system.
  • Sets out our achievements to date and the approach being used by the transport sector in moving towards regulatory stewardship.
  • Provides the transport sector’s action plans for regulatory stewardship for 2019, and for 2020 and beyond.

Download the 2019-2022 Stewardship Plan [PDF, 1 MB]

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]These build on Treasury's guidelines for setting charges in the public sector and the guidelines of the Office of the Auditor-General relating to charging fees for public sector goods and services.

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.

The transport sector is regulated by 26 Acts and 268 sets of regulations and rules.

Transport’s primary legislation establishes and empowers the institutions that create, maintain, and/or give effect to the regulations and rules within the transport system.

Transport regulations establish the offences and prescribe fees, levies, charges, liabilities, fines and penalties associated with managing and enforcing activity within regulatory system.

The rules set standards for users, educators, transport staff and service personnel, vehicles/aircraft/vessels, associated ground equipment and facilities, and operations and associated operational procedures. 

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).

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

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 Transport Rules Development Framework(external link) sets out best practice to achieve a consistent approach to rule development and implementation. The Framework includes an end-to-end process(external link), tools, templates and supporting information. The process is designed to be flexible, to allow for different levels of urgency and complexity of policy proposals and rule changes. Not every step needs to be taken, or taken to the same extent in every case.

Following the Framework, however, enables the transport agencies and the Ministry of Transport to understand what parts of the process are necessary in each particular case, and how risks can best be mitigated if not following a particular step. There are, however, some legal (e.g. statutory public notification and consultation) and mandatory (such as Ministerial or Cabinet) requirements, which need to be adhered to. The policy investigation phase is critical in determining whether or not a regulatory intervention such as a rule is necessary.

The broad phases of rule production are illustrated below:

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 2018/19 Transport Rules Programme, approved by Cabinet, can be found below. 

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

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

Regulatory Impact Assessments

All policy initiatives that propose any change to regulations require a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) also known as a ‘regulatory impact statement’. View Ministry of Transport RIAs.