Our responsibility to contribute to an efficient, effective and safe land transport system in the public interest is set out in the Land Transport Management Act 2003.
This and other legislation, such as the Land Transport Act 1998, determines our roles and provides the authority for us to act. Other forms of legislation—regulations and rules—set out our powers for a range of activities, from establishing toll roads to implementing driver and vehicle requirements.
Our legal responsibilities
Under legislation—the Land Transport Management Act 2003—we have the following responsibilities:
Land Transport Management Act 2003(external link)
(a) to contribute to an effective, efficient, and safe land transport system in the public interest;
(b) to contribute to establishing, implementing, operating, delivering, monitoring, and enforcing the regulation of the land transport system;
(c) to publish its regulatory strategy in accordance with section 96A;
Land Transport Management Act 2003, section 96A(external link)
(d) to appoint and oversee the performance of the Director, including by ensuring that the Director performs efficiently and effectively;
(e) to issue warnings, reports, and guidance, and to comment about any regulatory matter relating to the land transport system and its participants or any other persons engaged with it;
(f) to manage and oversee regulatory requirements for land transport, including maintaining and preserving records and documents concerning activities within the land transport system and providing and maintaining registers;
(g) to investigate and review accidents and incidents involving transport on land in its capacity as the responsible safety authority (subject to any limitations set out in the Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990);
Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990(external link)
Infrastructure, planning, and investment management functions
(h) to manage the State highway system (including its planning, funding, design, supervision, construction, maintenance, and operation) in accordance with this Act and the Government Roading Powers Act 1989;
Government Roading Powers Act 1989(external link)
(i) to oversee the planning, operation, implementation, and delivery of public transport (including issuing guidelines for regional public transport plans);
(j) to manage funding of the land transport system, including:
(i) administering land transport revenue; and
(ii) auditing the performance of approved organisations in relation to activities approved by the Agency; and
(iii) auditing the operation of the land transport disbursement accounts of those organisations:
(k) to assist, advise, and co-operate with approved organisations;
(l) to assist, advise, and co-operate with KiwiRail in relation to KiwiRail’s role in preparing each rail network investment programme;
(m) to monitor and report to the Minister on the matters set out in section 102A;
Land Transport Management Act 2003, section 102A(external link)
(n) to deliver, or manage the delivery of, activities relating to research, education, and training in relation to the land transport system;
(o) to deliver, or manage the delivery of, activities for ticketing systems and payments in relation to the land transport system;
(p) to issue reports and guidance and to comment about any matter relating to the land transport system and its participants or any other persons engaged with it;
(q) to advise, assist, or co-operate with any government agency or local government agency when requested to do so by the Minister, but only if the Minister and the Agency are satisfied that the performance of the Agency’s functions and duties will not be compromised;
(r) to advise, assist, or co-operate with other specified agencies and overseas agencies (including under section 109B);
Land Transport Management Act 2003, section 109B(external link)
(s) to provide the Minister with any advice relating to the Agency’s functions that the Minister requests;
(t) to carry out any other functions relating to land transport that the Minister directs in accordance with section 112 of the Crown Entities Act 2004;
Crown Entities Act 2004, section 112(external link)
(u) to carry out the Agency’s functions, powers, and duties under other provisions of this Act or any other Act.
Our governing legislation
There are many acts, regulations and rules that govern what we do and how we do it.
Listed below are just some of the main pieces of legislation that shape our business and activities.
You can read and download New Zealand acts, bills, and regulations free of charge from the New Zealand Legislation website.
New Zealand Legislation website(external link)
Acts of Parliament
- Land Transport Management Act 2003(external link) sets out the requirements and processes for local authorities to obtain funding for roading construction and maintenance, and for the funding of NZ Police on-road enforcement. It sets out the requirements for regional councils to contract for the provision of public transport services. It is also the Act that establishes Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and the Director of Land Transport.
- Land Transport Act 1998(external link) promotes safe road user behaviour and vehicle safety; provides for a system of rules governing road user behaviour, the licensing of drivers and technical aspects of land transport; recognises reciprocal obligations of persons involved; consolidates and amends various enactments relating to road safety and land transport; and enables New Zealand to implement international agreements relating to road safety and land transport. It also includes the registration and licensing of motor vehicles and the regulation of commercial transport services and the limits on driving hours.
- Railways Act 2005(external link) provides for the regulation of rail operations in New Zealand. It covers monorails, and both light and heavy railways. It also includes basic safety obligations of operators and the general public when near a railway, as well as the powers the railway operators have to protect and manage the railway corridor.
- Government Roading Powers Act 1989(external link) provides the necessary powers for Waka Kotahi and ministers to build, maintain and manage roads. It was originally passed as the Transit New Zealand Act 1989.
- Road User Charges Act 2012(external link) imposes charges for road use by heavy and other vehicles, such as diesel-powered vehicles.
- Land Transport Management (Apportionment and Refund of Excise Duty and Excise-Equivalent duty) Regulations 2004(external link) provides for the refund in certain circumstances of a proportion of the fuel tax paid on motor spirits and lists types of vehicles for which a refund may be available.
- Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999(external link) details the offences for breaching land transport rules and the penalties for those offences.
- Traffic Regulations 1976(external link). Land transport rules now cover nearly all of these requirements. A few obligations, such as requirements on towing trailers by passenger service vehicles, power to require inspection of motor vehicles after accidents, and restrictions on motor vehicle reliability trials, still remain in these regulations.
- Transport Services Licensing Regulations 1989(external link) provides for fees payable for transport service licences (except rail services), and a few exemptions from operator licensing.
- Heavy Motor Vehicle Regulations 1974(external link) allows road controlling authorities to restrict the movement of heavy vehicles to prevent damage to roads and bridges of limited strength.
- Land Transport (Infringement and Reminder Notices) Regulations 1998(external link) sets out the format for infringement offence notices and reminder notices from traffic law enforcement.
- Land Transport (Administration Fees for Recovery of Unpaid Tolls) Regulations 2008(external link) authorises a toll operator to recover the administrative costs of collecting unpaid tolls.
- Land Transport (Certification and Other Fees) Regulations 1999(external link) sets the fees payable by organisations wishing to be authorised to inspect motor vehicles and a standards development levy payable by owners of heavy motor vehicles.
- Land Transport (Motor Vehicle Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2011(external link) sets out vehicle registration and licensing requirements; including requirements for motor vehicle registration plates (number plates), such as colour and character combinations, and the way they must be displayed. Also includes specific offences and penalties.
- Land Transport (Ordering a Vehicle off the Road) Notice 1999(external link) prescribes the format for notices issued to vehicles too unsafe to be on the road or not complying with vehicle standards. It also specifies who may inspect the vehicle and issue a new warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness.
- Railways Regulations 2019(external link) sets the fees applying to licensed railway operations, declares which narrow gauge railways the act covers, and specifies exemptions.
- Road User Charges Regulations 2012(external link) details the information required for applications for road user charges licences, specifies display requirements for distance licences and the fitting of hubodometers, and prescribes road user charges vehicle types.
The following two rules are available on the New Zealand legislation website.
Other rules are available in the Resources section of this website.
The Waka Kotahi prosecution policy includes a summary of the legislation which we are empowered to enforce, and sets requirements to guide staff in deciding when it is appropriate to initiate a prosecution for an offence.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency prosecution policy