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 customer-centric delivery, reducing carbon emissions and zero harm health and safety for workers.


Eleven projects that improve safety and traffic flows have been completed in Northland, Hawkes Bay, West Coast, including two projects from the Canterbury Package.

Construction is underway on several 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 with RiverLink/Melling alliance appointed and about to go into construction. A further three 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. O Mahurangi – Penlink in north Auckland started enabling works in January 2023 with the main construction due to start in October 2023. A preferred route for the new Ōtaki to North of Levin state highway has been approved to complete the pre-implementation phase, with progression to the construction phase subject to approval from the Joint Ministers. The Government continues to work with Waka Kotahi to support the construction of Ōtaki to north of Levin highway.

O Mahurangi – Penlink

Lower Hutt is home to over 110,000 people and its population is rising. Changes need to be made to the transport network to keep up with the Hutt Valley’s urban and economic growth.

The improvements at Melling will build a safer, more reliable and more accessible transport system in Lower Hutt. This will offer residents and visitors more choice on how they get around. RiverLink also supports flood protection and the revitalisation of the central city.

Riverlink – Melling(external link)

The SH1/SH29 intersection project will improve safety on a high-volume traffic route, which is one of New Zealand’s most critical corridors. The new roundabout will be designed to allow connection with a potential future expressway between Cambridge and Piarere.

SH1/SH29 intersection(external link)

SH73 West Melton Improvements(external link)