Transport funding

Transport sector: A case study of sector-level reporting

In our examination of different parts of the transport sector, we were often able to understand how funding was used to achieve particular outcomes and/or key strategies, plans, initiatives, and programmes of work. In our view, it is important that Parliament and the public can see and understand how the transport sector is funded and how this funding is spent across different activities, outputs, and outcomes.

We used publicly available information and data to create an overview of land transport funding and spending in areas that are relevant and meaningful.

The information and data included a mix of audited and unaudited information and does not reflect revenue and expenditure from the private sector, such as trucking firms, retail petrol services, or similar commercial operations.

It was difficult to pull together because we collected data and information from several sources:

  • Most of the data contained in the diagram comes from the 2021-22 transport expenditure spreadsheets, which are on the Waka Kotahi website. Although information is not audited, it does provide the most comprehensive data set available about public spending on transport.
  • Councils use rates and other revenue sources to fund their transport activities. For the most part, the information about revenue and the expenditure councils incur are in their annual reports. Due to delays in annual reports being published, about half of the results were for the year ending 30 June 2022 and the rest were for the year ending 30 June 2021. Not all councils reported consistently, which meant that some council data could be included.
  • Road safety expenditure included in the diagram includes the unaudited road safety expenditure incurred from the NLTF, which is predominately provided to councils (reported in the Waka Kotahi data sets) and expenditure incurred by the New Zealand Police for road safety.
  • Vote revenue was obtained from the Ministry of Transport’s 30 June 2022 annual report. Budget 2022 included new funding for emissions reduction initiatives ($307 million for 2022/23), such as mode shift infrastructure and services.
  • Railway revenue and expenditure information is from KiwiRail’s 30 June 2022 annual report. It does not differentiate between the expenditure incurred on building new railway assets and maintaining railway assets.
  • Information about the capital and operational expenditure split is from the annual report of Waka Kotahi and does not reflect the spending incurred by councils.

Significant changes in funding and spending:

  • The funding mix has changed with increasing amounts of funding provided from direct Crown funding, such as the NZUP and Covid-19 initiatives.
  • Increasing use of debt facilities, such as $2 billion financing in place to support the NLTP 2021-24, with $201 million used during 2021/22.
  • Ongoing increase in rail spending and direct Crown spending on roads, walking, and cycling (compared to 2020/21).
  • The new regional spatial strategies that will be required as a result of the Resource Management Reform and the proposed Spatial Planning Act will generate transport infrastructure funding expectations, which will need a formal framework for prioritisation and decision-making at both a national and regional level.