The operating costs of public transport are funded through the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), council funding, and fares. The Land Transport Management Act 2003 enables regional councils to set standards for public transport services to be provided in their regions, and helps them and the NZ Transport Agency obtain value for money from subsidised services.

The majority of public transport services are provided by the private sector under contract to local councils. Government aims for half the operating costs of public transport services to be funded through fares, with the remaining costs split between central and local government.

Separate government funding is provided for the SuperGold Card public transport scheme, which enables card holders to travel free on off-peak public transport services.

Capital investment in Wellington and Auckland metro rail is funded by separate Crown appropriations.