Several pieces of legislation guide land transport planning. The statutory framework for land use planning is largely contained within the Resource Management Act 1991. The purpose of the Act is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

The Land Transport Management Act 2003 sets out requirements for the operation, development and funding of the land transport system.

Other legislation, such as the Local Government Act 2002, also contains requirements local government must meet in planning and carrying out its functions.

On this page:

Resource Management Act (RMA)

The RMA promotes managing the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, that enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety, while:

  • sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources (excluding minerals) to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations
  • safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil and ecosystems
  • avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment.

The act sets out the functions, powers and duties of local government, and the resource consent and designation process.

Use of designations

When building or maintaining the state highway, the RMA requires us to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse environmental effects caused by the infrastructure - and we must apply for a resource consent from the relevant council if an activity isn't allowed 'as of right' in the relevant district or regional plan.

Resource Management Act(external link)

Land Transport Management Act (LTMA)

The LTMA provides the legal framework for managing and funding land transport activities. The purpose of the LTMA is to contribute to an effective, efficient, and safe land transport system in the public interest.

The act:

  • provides an integrated approach to land transport funding and management that takes into account the views of affected communities
  • improves social and environmental responsibility in land transport funding, planning and management
  • provides Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency with a broad land transport focus
  • ensures options and alternatives are given full consideration at an early stage in the development of programmes
  • improves long-term planning and investment in land transport
  • ensures that land transport funding is allocated in an efficient and effective manner
  • improves the flexibility of land transport funding by providing for alternative funding mechanisms.

The act also defines our function and the roles of:

It also provides for:

Land Transport Management Act(external link)

Local Government Act

The Local Government Act:

  • states the purpose of local government
  • provides a framework and powers for local authorities to decide which activities they undertake and the manner in which they will undertake them
  • promotes the accountability of local authorities to their communities
  • provides for local authorities to play a broad role in promoting the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of their communities, taking a sustainable development approach.

Local Government Act(external link)

Public Transport Management Act

This Act increases the powers of regional councils to plan and manage public transport services.

It allows regional councils to:

  • require all or any services to be provided under contract to the council
  • impose controls on commercial public transport services (eg for quality and performance standards)
  • regulate the registration of public transport services.

The Act also clarifies when a regional public transport plan is needed, what its purpose is and the process for developing a plan.

Public Transport Management Act(external link)

Other governing legislation

Learn about the many acts, regulations and rules that govern what we do and how we do it.

Our legal framework