Government Releases Draft Government Policy Statement for Consultation (Due May 2)

Have your say on the draft statement that influences Transport investment


Yesterday the Prime Minister, Transport Minister, Associate Transport Minister, and the Regional Development Minister (so Ardern, Twyford, Genter and Jones) released the draft Government Policy Statement for consultation. The GPS being the master transport document that guides transport investment in New Zealand.


From the Beehive:


Government seeks feedback on Draft GPS 2018

  • Phil Twyford
  • Shane Jones
  • Julie Anne Genter

The Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2018 on land transport released today is an important step towards making our roads safer so we can reduce New Zealand’s appalling number of road deaths, Transport Minister Phil Twyford says.

The GPS helps guide investment in transport by providing a longer-term strategic view of what is prioritised and why. The draft GPS 2018 prioritises safety, access to a wider range of transport options, the environment and value for money. The Government is now seeking feedback from local government, the transport sector and community groups on this proposal.

“With road deaths increasing every year since 2013, this Government is prioritising safety improvements. We’re going to invest in what makes the most difference – regional and local roads, and targeted improvements to the State Highway network,” says Phil Twyford.

“The previous government did not spend enough on road safety, and instead wasted funds on a few low-value motorway projects. This has created an imbalance in what is funded, with a few roads benefitting at the expense of other areas.

“This new approach requires a shift in transport investment. We are proposing increases to most activity classes, with specific focus on regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance and public transport, along with new investment in rapid transit and rail. This will help us create a resilient, efficient, safe and responsible transport system,” Phil Twyford says.

Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says rebalancing transport investment will help our regions thrive.

“Over the past nine years, National Land Transport Fund spending was reduced in Taranaki, Southland, West Coast, Otago, Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty by up to 30%. In contrast, Our Government will increase spending in the regional roading improvements funding class by 98%,” Shane Jones says.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says that by investing in safety improvements such as median safety barriers, intersection upgrades and rumble strips, we can make our roads safer and save lives.

“To create healthy, liveable cities we need to make it safe and easy for people to walk and cycle those short trips to school, work and around town. That’s why we’re proposing a significant boost in safe, walking and cycling infrastructure.

“Better public transport and safe cycling infrastructure will also help to reduce traffic and make life easier for people driving,” Julie Anne Genter says.

Further Information

GPS 2018 covers the period 2018/19 – 2027/28, setting out Government’s priorities for land transport and guiding the allocation of over $4 billion a year from the National Land Transport Fund by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Engagement on the draft GPS closes at 5pm, 02 May. To view the draft GPS 2018 go to




As noted active and transit modes get large funding increases while motorway building is slashed. Regional roads are also inline for cash so they can get basic safety upgrades done like median barriers, curve easements and/or roundabouts and major intersections.


Below is the GPS at a glance:



Key changes proposed to the activity classes in the draft GPS 2018


Activity class Average percentage change over three years[1] Comment
Public transport 46% increase This will support an expansion in public transport networks. This will support an increase in operating subsidies for public transport and some public transport capital improvements.
Rapid Transit New activity class New activity class – allowing $4 billion over 10 years to establish rapid transit investment with an initial focus on Auckland. Note: While funding ranges show a decrease in rapid transit investment, in later years the intention is to continue with more investment.
Local road improvements 42% increase To support local road improvements and upgrades.
Regional improvements 96% increase To support investment in regional projects that improve safety, resilience and access for people and goods. How the NLTF interacts with the Provincial Growth Fund will be a key determinant of the activity class funding expenditure levels.
State highway improvements 11% decrease This decrease rebalances investment across the transport portfolio. The proposed activity class level will allow for currently committed projects to be completed and will enable the delivery of more safety improvements.
Road policing 14% increase To enable the NZ Police to maintain an effective road policing service.
Road safety and demand management 81% increase To continue road safety promotion, alcohol interlocks, and to include demand management measures that promote public transport and walking and cycling.
State highway maintenance 18% increase This activity class was capped over the last GPS period. It is now proposed to allow for an increase in the level of renewals of state highway pavement surfaces given additional heavy vehicle traffic and severe weather.
Local road maintenance 22% increase This activity class was capped over the last GPS period. It is proposed to allow an increase to cover the increased maintenance cost of additional heavy traffic and severe weather. However, it is also proposed to allow footpath maintenance to be funded from the NLTF. This is a scope change that reflects the Government’s desire to support the use of active modes.
Investment management 31% increase This increase will support additional transport planning of NZ Transport Agency and local government given the changes to transport priorities.
Transitional rail New activity class New activity class – this activity class will support rail priority  transport options for users and benefit congestion in our urban centres until a wider review of rail funding is concluded.
Walking and cycling improvements 248% increase To support an expansion in walking and cycling infrastructure.

[1] In funding range upper boundary, across three financial years.  

Source: or GPS 2018 Key Changes


And the GPS draft itself:



Access, Resilience, Safety and Low Carbon are the keys to the new Government Policy Statement. Regional Rapid Rail and the Southern Airport Line as announced in the weekend (Regional Rapid Rail and The Southern Airport Line a (virtual) GO!) would be two projects that tick all the GPS boxes in one go.


Of note is that a second GPS will come out next year specifically looking at rail and first time ever coastal shipping:

Second Stage GPS that includes more on rail and also Coastal Shipping
Source: New Zealand Government

Rail is to come under the National Land Transport Fund for the first time meaning that rail investment can draw on the same pool of funds as roads do.


Speaking more on rail:

Transitional Rail Plan
Source: New Zealand Government


Cue inter-regional spatial planning


Finally this is what Radio New Zealand had to say on the matter:


Budget 2018 due out in 6 weeks time from this post will give us our first look at the first round of major investments under the GPS.



So far things are looking very good on the transport front!