As a trading nation we rely on transport infrastructure and services to get our goods to our international markets, and to move goods around the country. The transport system is also an important enabler of economic growth and social connectivity within communities.

However, the transport sector is an important part of the New Zealand economy in its own right. The sector employs more than 83,000 people, and the transport and storage industry accounts for 5.2 percent of New Zealand’s GDP.

Transport is different from many other sectors of the economy in that the government directly invests approximately $3 billion in it each year. This is primarily in the land transport system.

Ministry of Transport has a broad responsibility across the whole of the transport system and the regulatory framework that supports it. The Ministry is focused on developing a transport system that maximises the economic and social benefits to New Zealand and minimises harm. To do that the Ministry needs a good base knowledge of the transport sector. It also needs to understand the future drivers for transport and their implications for government policy and investment decisions. The transport Crown entities have regulatory and service delivery roles to meet their statutory responsibilities and the government’s objectives for transport.

The Ministry's role is to advise on policy...

The Ministry is the government’s principal adviser on transport policy. The vast majority of its work is providing policy advice to the Minister and Associate Minister of Transport to shape transport policy for New Zealand. Our role is not dissimilar to that of a coach of a sporting team, sitting in the coach’s box in the grandstand and being able to see the whole game being played in front of us. This allows us to influence the result of the game by:

  • understanding the competitive environment in which transport takes place and how firms and local authorities will respond to different settings
  • leading thinking on strategy for the success of the overall system
  • facilitating conversations with all the players in transport on how we can join up their activities to improve the performance of the transport system
  • advising on the choice of players in the transport sector – the structure of the transport Crown entities and the appointment of their board members.

And we undertake a number of other functions...

In addition to our core policy and Crown entity oversight roles, the Ministry also has responsibility for other functions.

These include:

  • administering transport legislation, rules and regulations
  • collecting vehicle licensing fees, road user charges and fuel excise duty (contracted to the New Zealand Transport Agency)
  • representing New Zealand at international fora
  • licensing all international airlines operating to and from New Zealand
  • operating the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome
  • overseeing the Crown’s interest in joint venture airports
  • administering a contract with the Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited (MetService) to provide a public weather warning and forecast service.

But we need to work with others to achive our outcomes...

The Ministry has an important role in advising the government. However, we are only one of five organisations that make up the government transport sector, and one of many hundreds that make up the whole transport sector. As a policy agency, the Ministry is able to influence the policy and regulatory settings under which the transport system operates. But we need to work with other agencies, and need them to successfully undertake their own roles, for our outcomes to be achieved.

What we are part of

The New Zealand government transport sector includes the Minister of Transport, the Associate Minister of Transport, four Crown entities, three State-owned enterprises and one Crown established trust. These entities and their functions are explained in this diagram [PDF, 84 KB]


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