The New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) will provide growing communities across the country with better travel choices that help people get where they’re going safely.

The programme will also support economic growth, while responding to the impacts of travel on the environment and helping enable housing.

Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail are delivering the Government’s $8.7 billion investment in rail, public transport, walking and cycling as well as safer roads that better connect people and businesses.

The transport improvements are in our main growth areas - Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Whanganui, Wellington, Canterbury and Queenstown - as well as a number of regions.

As part of work towards a decarbonised transport system, projects feature a range of measures to help lower carbon emissions. This includes new walking and cycling paths, improving rail and enabling other public transport improvements, as well as managed lanes that prioritise public transport and shared journeys.

One of the areas where Waka Kotahi can more immediately lower emissions is through construction. We’ve introduced a new approach on our NZUP projects that includes working with suppliers to introduce innovations that meet targets to lower construction emissions.

It is part of our focus on using the opportunity the New Zealand Upgrade Programme investment presents to develop a high performing transport construction sector. We’ll drive delivery improvements by working closely with suppliers to meet important outcomes like delivering within budget, customer-centric delivery, reducing carbon emissions and zero harm health and safety for workers.


Six projects that improve safety and traffic flows have been completed in Northland, Hawkes Bay, West Coast and Canterbury.

Construction is underway on four major Waka Kotahi NZUP projects – Takitimu North Link stage one in the Bay of Plenty SH1 Papakura to Drury in Auckland, SH58 safety improvements in Wellington and SH1/Walnut Ave in Ashburton. A further six state highway upgrades are being built as part of the regional package.

Regional package

KiwiRail is also building the third main rail line and Papakura to Pukekohe rail electrification in south Auckland.

Auckland KiwiRail projects(external link)

Wellington KiwiRail projects(external link)

We’re making good progress on the other projects too, which are at various stages of design and consent. Penlink in north Auckland is tendering for the alliance to construct the vital new transport link in 2022. A preferred route for the new Ōtaki to North of Levin state highway to improve safety has been identified following regular community and landowner engagement, with consents being applied for in 2022.

In June 2021 the Government decided to make changes to a small number of projects to meet climate change and housing objectives as well as manage debt responsibly following COVID-19.

Work is underway to re-scope the Mill Road and Whangārei to Port Marsden projects.

Waka Kotahi is also exploring further options for walking and cycling across the Waitematā Harbour. This followed the Government confirming in September 2021 it would not proceed with the standalone bridge portion of the Northern Pathway.