Govt plans big transport spend, improved returns

New Zealand government transport plans for the next 10 years include a $36 billion investment in road, a $4.6 billion investment in rail, and an intention to seek improved returns from previous investments and existing services.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has released Connecting New Zealand, a summary of the government’s intended policy direction for transport over the next decade.

Mr Joyce says the government has been working hard to progress its three main areas of focus in transport policy: economic growth and productivity, value for money, and road safety. The document is intended to help transport stakeholders better understand what the government is seeking from the transport system.

Major challenges for transport systems noted in the document include an overall population increase, especially in those aged 60-plus, and an increase in freight volume.

Transport intentions – key points


- amount freighted is expected to double by 2040, with significant growth in Waikato, Caterbury, Northland and Auckland especially

- $36 billion will be invested in land transport over the next 10 years (spend includes state highways and subsidies for regional and local roads and public transport)

- the first set of Roads of National Significance will be completed.

- aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from land transport “over time”



- industry moves $6 billion worth of NZ exports each year, critical to $5.6 billion tourism industry

- air services agreements that provide more access to key trade and tourist markets will be negotiated

- plans to seek better performance and value for money from the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Security Service

- market barriers to trade will be reviewed.



- carries 15% of freight nationally; aiming to increase efficiency to match projected freight increase

- the KiwiRail Turnaround Plan (an investment of $4.6 billion into rail over the next 10 years) aims to make KiwiRail a commercially viable business

- $2.3 billion will be invested in metro rail infrastructure in Auckland and Wellington



- greater focus on port productivity (currently carries approx. 15% of freight)

- driving greater performance and value for money from Maritime New Zealand

- sustainable funding basis to be established for Maritime New Zealand

- improve public information on the performance of maritime and freight transport


Public transport

- aiming to improve the efficiency of public transport.

- aiming to increase public transport patronage and decrease reliance on subsidies


A range of road, air and water safety initiatives are also mentioned.

The minister says Connecting New Zealand reinforces the government’s commitment to these areas by clearly summarising how each of those aims impact on the different parts of the overall transport sector.

“The transport sector has a crucial role to play in supporting our growth plans.  Economic growth and productivity, value for money, and safety are the areas where we need to see the greatest improvement from in the transport system over the next decade.


Download the pdf here.

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