The Government Policy Statement on land transport and the National Land Transport Programme

Transport sector: A case study of sector-level performance

The transport sector publishes a Government Policy Statement on land transport every three years. It sets out the direction and funding ranges for land transport activities for the next 10 years. The most recent Government Policy Statement, published in 2021,4 has four priorities: safety, climate change, improving freight connections, and better travel options.

The National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) sets out a three-year programme of investment to give effect to the Government Policy Statement. Funding for the NLTP mainly comes from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), with inflows from fuel excise duty and road user charges. Vote Transport has provided further support for the NLTP in recent years through loan facilities and Crown top-ups of the NLTF (such as funding to manage Covid-19 cost pressures). Local government organisations also provide funding.

NLTF funding goes to local, regional, and national land transport activities. These activities are set out in Regional Land Transport Plans and the State Highway Investment Plan and are included in the NLTP as “activity classes”. Activity classes include public transport, state highway improvements, and local roads.

How performance is reported

There is a monitoring and evaluation framework in place for the Government Policy Statement.

For the 2018 Government Policy Statement, the Ministry of Transport published annual reports, which provided a concise, accessible, comprehensive, and integrated view of the use of resources, activities, and progress against the outcomes in the 2018 Government Policy Statement. This goes beyond the transport sector’s statutory reporting requirements.

In February 2023, the Ministry of Transport published an evaluation of Government Policy Statement 2018. The evaluation could not establish how the Government Policy Statement contributed to transport sector outcomes. However, it did demonstrate the influence of the Government Policy Statement on the funding process (such as a shift towards funding for public transport improvements). The Covid-19 pandemic and other priorities resulted in one Government Policy Statement annual report being paused. The Ministry of Transport’s intention is to continue producing Government Policy Statement annual reports.

There are multiple levels of reporting on the NLTP. Waka Kotahi and the NLTF provide reporting on investment of the NLTF and progress of the NLTP in their annual reports. Waka Kotahi also provides clear and comprehensive information about spending and what is being achieved through the NLTP in its annual report.

Waka Kotahi also provides comprehensive data about NLTP funding on its website. This information about allocation of funds to activity classes and regions is timely and up to date. Each region also produces their own Regional Land Transport Plans (RLTP), as well as the corresponding monitoring reports.

Good performance reporting on asset management is important for the transport sector given that a significant amount of NLTP funding is spent maintaining local roads and state highway networks.5

In its annual report, Waka Kotahi reports on several measures that relate to state highway assets, such as the “proportion of state highway maintenance activities delivered to agreed programme”. However, these measures do not fully reflect the infrastructure gap and medium-to-long term asset condition.

4: A draft Government Policy Statement 2024 was released in August 2023.

5: In 2021/22, $830 million was spent on state highway maintenance and $736 million was spent on local road maintenance.