Decarbonised bus fleets accelerated for a healthier Aotearoa


Three Public Transport Authorities (PTAs) will receive financial support to assist in the decarbonisation of their bus fleets to help create a healthier future for communities across the country.

Greater Wellington Regional Council, Taranaki Regional Council, and Environment Canterbury will receive funding from the first round of a $136m contestable fund which aims to support Public Transport Authorities to meet the costs of initiatives to accelerate the decarbonisation of the public transport bus fleet, such as bringing forward the introduction of zero emission buses and investing in supporting depot infrastructure.

“Effective, safe and reliable public transport is a cornerstone of a well-functioning transport system and plays a vital role in helping reduce emissions and better connecting our communities. A healthier transport system will mean a healthier and safer future for everyone across the motu,” says Deborah Hume, National Manager Multimodal Integration.

“Decarbonising Aotearoa’s bus fleet is a vital part of the system-wide move to building a more resilient New Zealand, which will help us reach our emissions targets, but also improve air quality and amenity in our towns and cities. Transitioning the public transport bus fleet from diesel-fuelled to zero emission vehicles will contribute to the transport sector’s emission reduction targets.”

Waka Kotahi has been actively engaging with the sector to understand the bus decarbonisation challenges and to design the contestable fund. PTAs submitted applications for funding in June 2023, and Waka Kotahi has been assessing and finalising applications with PTAs over the last three months.

As part of the bus decarbonisation contestable fund, Greater Wellington Regional Council will receive $10.8 million of funding to invest in depot and charging infrastructure that will enable the expansion of Wellington’s electric bus fleet earlier than otherwise possible; Taranaki Regional Council will receive $308,000 to help fund the procurement of the first electric bus in the Taranaki region; and Environment Canterbury will receive $6.1 million to bring forward the expansion of its electric bus fleet. Other initiatives as part of the $136m contestable fund will be announced in the coming months.

In January 2021, the Government announced it will require only zero-emission public transport buses to be purchased from 2025 and target the complete decarbonisation of the public transport bus fleet by 2035. Through Budget 2022, the Government agreed to provide $136.95 million over 12 years to support decarbonisation of the public transport bus fleet. The first four years’ funding of $40.65m is being funded from the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF), with the balance to be funded from general Crown revenue through a series of funding rounds to be held over the 12-year duration of the budget allocation. The balance of the budget allocation will be used to fund a number of technical studies to increase knowledge across the public transport sector on the most effective approaches to decarbonising bus fleets.

The bus decarbonisation programme of work is part of the Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme, which aims to provide growing communities with increased transport options, improved health and social outcomes, and contribute to a healthier future for us all, while supporting our response to climate change by transitioning Aotearoa to a low-emission and climate resilient future.