Regulatory services

Transport sector: A case study of sector-level performance

Across the transport sector, there are several transport agencies that have regulatory responsibilities. We have only assessed the relevant reporting by Waka Kotahi.

Safety is the primary outcome of the regulatory activities Waka Kotahi carries out. The relevant output classes, “Regulation of commercial transport operators”, “Regulation of the rail transport system”, “Driver licensing and testing”, and “Vehicle safety and certification”, are directly linked to the “Safe” outcome.

There have been changes to the legislative framework and several reviews of the role and performance of Waka Kotahi in these areas.

The current regulatory strategy from 2020 to 2025 (Tū ake, Tū māia) consists of five main capability shifts in Waka Kotahi: strong governance and accountability, trusted and valued relationships, robust and consistent decision-making, thriving regulatory culture and courageous people, and innovative technology and intelligence.

From 2021 to 2022, about $166 million was spent on the regulatory function of Waka Kotahi. This was funded with about $153 million of revenue ($139 million was from fees and charges and $13 million loaned from the Crown). A review of fees and funding led to changes taking effect from October 2023.

How performance is reported

In its 2021/22 annual report, Waka Kotahi provides reporting on its regulatory capability and performance. Waka Kotahi includes a mixture of performance measures on implementing findings from reviews and assessing compliance across different regulatory activities (for example, driver licensing).

The current suite of measures presents some useful information on how Waka Kotahi delivers its regulatory functions. However, they do not present a clear view of how Waka Kotahi has improved its performance or the effectiveness of its regulatory functions. For example, it is unclear whether the targets that are set relate to the number of compliance activities Waka Kotahi is resourced to undertake or whether the level of activity is appropriately benchmarked for a regulator of its nature.