Our response to COVID-19 – working with our people, co-investors and other partners

Whilst 2019/20 had many challenges, including a number of weather events, none can compare to managing the impact of COVID-19. Waka Kotahi and the land transport system have a critical role to play in New Zealand’s social and economic recovery from the pandemic. We played a critical role in keeping New Zealand moving safely during the COVID-19 response. We worked closely with our partners and contractors across the country to ensure that public transport continued to operate to support essential services, vulnerable people and workers.

We ensured that worksites were shutdown safely and securely, and ensured work progressed under strict health and safety controls as the country moved out of the Alert Level 4 lockdown. 

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our key programmes, performance targets, and on our revenue from fuel tax, road user charges and regulatory fees and charges. The ongoing impact of COVID-19 presents us with some significant challenges as we strive to complete the successful delivery of the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme. It is critical we work closely with our co-investment partners to ensure our investment in the land transport system is prioritised to support the economic recovery of New Zealand.

We refreshed our 10-year land transport strategy, Arataki, to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the land transport system and on our co-investment partners.

A safe and resilient network

Safety is our top priority. We delivered and continue to deliver a range of initiatives targeting speed management, infrastructure improvements and vehicle safety to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured while travelling.

We are committed to ensuring our network remains resilient. In 2019/20, we delivered our biggest ever annual maintenance programme. We are continuing to work hard to optimise our road maintenance and renewal work to manage a state highway network that has grown significantly, with an increased number of vehicles and heavy vehicles operating on it. With pressure on the funding available from the National Land Transport Fund to meet an expanding range of activity in future NLTP periods, ensuring sufficient reinvestment in maintaining and improving the condition of the state highway network is a priority for the sector.

Key projects to strengthen and improve the resilience of the land transport system were progressed, including the Kaikōura coast earthquake response, Te Ahu a Tūranga: Manawatū–Tararua highway and Waiōeka Gorge projects.

71% of state highway improvement activities delivered to agreed standards and timeframes

81% of unplanned road closures resolved within the standard timeframe

90% of our road safety advertising campaigns met or exceeded their agreed success criteria

The NZ Upgrade Programme – a $6.8b investment in transport infrastructure

In January 2020, the government announced the $6.8 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP), a significant programme of infrastructure investment across road, rail, public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure. Funded by the Crown, the programme will play a vital role in helping to stimulate the economy and support the country. It aims to save lives, get our cities moving and boost productivity in growth areas.

Five large projects are scheduled to start construction in 2020/21, including Penlink, Northern Pathway, Papakura to Drury South, Tauranga Northern Link and SH58 stage two safety improvements. Design work is progressing for the others.

NZUP will allow us to improve access to the transport system by investing in safe, new walking and cycling paths, building vital roads to speed up travel times, and taking trucks off roads by investing in rail for freight movement. We are also considering how projects under this programme can complement projects in the National Land Transport Programme.

Renewed focus on partnerships

2019/20 has seen us renew our focus on partnerships – both with iwi and local government. We are committed to engaging more effectively with iwi to build stronger, more meaningful and enduring partnerships. We are placing greater importance on the value of Te Ao Māori views in the work we do – this is critical for us to enhance the way we deliver and manage the land transport system.

A key part of our work is to support our people to have the capability, capacity and confidence to partner and engage successfully with Māori.

In early 2019, we launched Te Ara Kotahi - our Māori strategy. It was a significant step on our journey towards better meeting our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi. Since then, we have delivered Te Ara Poutama, our Māori cultural competency framework and Te Reo Rangatira - our Te Reo Māori policy.

2.4 out of 5 is the level of confidence stakeholders and partners have that the transport system is appropriately adapting to climate change

75% of stakeholders in communities affected by major disruption report Waka Kotahi was highly responsive