Budget 2022 provided new funding to Waka Kotahi to set up the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme, which aimed to help achieve goals set out in the government's Emissions Reduction Plan. Budget 2023 provided additional funding for Public Transport initiatives.

The delivery programmes within CERF included the Transport Choices programme; VKT Reduction programme; Social Leasing Scheme and Clean Car Upgrade; and Public Transport.

The CERF programme is funded directly by the Crown, with decisions resting with Ministers rather than with NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA). 

In June 2023, Cabinet made the decision to stop the Social Leasing Scheme and Clean Car Upgrade trials.

In December 2023, the Minister of Transport, the Hon Simeon Brown, announced changes to the programmes funded through the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

Transport Choices programme

Transport Choices is one of the three CERF delivery programmes and aims to fast-track active transport projects working in a partnership model with local authorities around New Zealand.

In December 2023, the Minister of Transport confirmed that no further funding for projects that are part of the Transport Choices programme will be approved.

Transport Choices projects with a signed funding agreement with NZTA can continue to progress construction activities and must be completed by June 2025.

Transport Choices projects

Councils across Aotearoa completed the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process to apply for Transport Choices funding from Waka Kotahi between August and September 2022. 

Please see the list of confirmed projects by councils below who will proceed to implementation and construction.

Transport Choices projects list by councils [PDF, 153 KB]

Vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) reduction

The VKT reduction programme is one of three delivery programmes under the Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme. This includes work on developing a national VKT reduction plan and the development of urban VKT reduction programmes with Tier 1 councils.

In December 2023, the Minister for Transport advised NZTA and Councils to stop work on VKT initiatives beyond existing contractual obligations.

We will continue to work in partnership with the Councils to ensure that they are supported through our existing channels. 

Public transport and climate change

The public transport initiatives within the Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme includes working with public transport authorities (PTAs) and councils on the national roll-out of Community Connect; improving bus driver terms and conditions; and accelerating decarbonising the national bus fleet.

In December 2023, the Minister for Transport provided direction regarding some public transport initiatives within the CERF programme.

The Government has announced changes to the funding arrangements for the Community Connect Concessions Scheme.

The Government will continue with Crown funding support for half-price public transport concessions for Community Services Card holders and 75% discounts for Total Mobility services. However, Crown funding for free fares for 5-12-year-olds and half-price fares for 13-24 year-olds on public transport will end on 30 April 2024.

There is no further guidance around the other Public Transport initiatives within the CERF programme at this stage, therefore any further funding for these initiatives will remain on hold until we receive direction from the new Government.