The Waka Kotahi Chief Executive reports to the Board. The Board is appointed by the Minister of Transport and is responsible for making independent decisions on allocating and investing funds from the National Land Transport Fund. It publishes its planned programme of investment every three years in the National Land Transport Programme.

Find out more about the National Land Transport Programme

Board members

The Minister of Transport can appoint up to nine members to the board.  


Hon Simon Bridges - Chair

Appointed Board chair 11 March 2024.

Hon. Simon Bridges was the National MP for Tauranga and is a former New Zealand Leader of the Opposition and senior Cabinet Minister. 

As a member of Cabinet in the last National-led Government, he held several ministerial portfolios including Transport, Energy, Communications, Economic Development and Leader of the House. 

During his tenure as a Minister, Simon helped roll-out nation-building infrastructure like Ultra­ Fast Broadband and opened major new roads like the Waterview Tunnel as Transport Minister. He also implemented policies during this period to grow the electric vehicle market, as well as investments in KiwiRail to improve public transport options in New Zealand.

Prior to standing for Parliament, Simon was a litigation lawyer including at law firm Kensington Swan and as senior Crown Prosecutor in Tauranga.

Simon is currently also CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber, a non-executive chair and director on a number of company boards and works in a range of sectors.


Cassandra Crowley - Deputy Chair

Board member since 23 September 2019.

Cassandra is a chartered accountant (Fellow), barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and a member of the Institute of Directors.

In addition to her commercial advisory work, she holds non-executive directorships across several sectors of the New Zealand economy including on listed companies and one of New Zealand’s largest exporters. She chairs several audit, finance and risk committees and committees overseeing digital
transformation. She is a past president of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and has been recognised through a number of awards for her leadership and governance contributions.

Cassandra chairs our Risk and Assurance Committee and is a member of our Investment and Delivery Committee.


David Smol

Board member since 1 February 2019.

David has over 35 years’ experience in New Zealand and the United Kingdom in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in the energy sector in both countries, including as director of an Oxford-based energy consulting firm with clients in the United Kingdom and Europe, large energy utilities and transmission companies, renewable energy generators, regulatory bodies and government departments.

In 2008, David was appointed Chief Executive of the Ministry of Economic Development. From 2012 to 2017, he was the inaugural Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, where he was responsible for the stewardship of multiple regulatory systems.

David is currently chair of the GNS Science Board, and Wellington UniVentures (the commercialisation subsidiary of Victoria University of Wellington).  He is also a director of Contact Energy and the Cooperative Bank. David was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in 2018.

David is a member of our Regulatory Committee.


Catherine Taylor

Board member since 23 September 2019.

Catherine is a chartered accountant and has held senior management positions in the public and private sectors, including five years as Director and Chief Executive of Maritime New Zealand.

Catherine has more than 25 years experience working with transport safety regulation with a focus on how to use regulatory tools to improve safety outcomes.

Catherine holds governance positions in the public, private and not-for -profit sector.  Current roles include chair of Diabetes New Zealand, director of Dunedin International Airport Limited, trustee of Diabetes New Zealand Research Foundation and trustee of the New Zealand Law Foundation.  She also acts as Independent Chair on a number of local committees in the area where she resides.

Catherine chairs our Regulatory Committee and is a member of our People, Culture and Safety Committee.


Victoria Carter

Board member since 23 September 2019.

Victoria, an accredited Fellow of the Institute of Directors, has over 25 years’ governance experience on the boards of NZX, substantial private companies, an iwi and council entities in the transport, tourism, education, health, property and arts sectors.

Founder of Cityhop, New Zealand’s first and largest carshare business, Victoria is a known expert on mobility as a service. She is chair of Laura Fergusson Trust, a disability provider.

Victoria is a former Auckland City councillor. In 2016, she was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts, business and community. She holds a bachelor of laws from the University of Auckland.

Victoria chairs our People, Culture and Safety Committee and is a member of our Risk and Assurance Committee.


John Bridgman

Board member since 1 July 2020.

John has over 35 years’ experience in engineering and project management roles across Australasia and Asia.

John is the Chair of City Rail Link Ltd and is a Director of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. Up until 2023 he was Chief Executive of Ōtākaro Ltd (now Rau Paenga Ltd), the Crown company responsible for the Crown’s contribution to the rebuilding of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquakes. Previously, he has held a variety of senior leadership roles at AECOM (including as Industry Director - Civil Infrastructure in Australia and as Managing Director of the New Zealand business), as well as governance roles on major infrastructure projects in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom.

John chairs our Investment and Delivery Committee.


Ngarimu Blair

Board member since 12 November 2021.

Ngarimu has strong Māori governance experience including leading the restructuring of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Group into a modern post-settlement governance entity in 2012.

Ngarimu is currently a director of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa Ltd, a large property company responsible for the protection and growth of the tribe's commercial assets, and co-chair of the Tāmaki Makaurau Mana Whenua Forum and a former Kāinga Ora Board member.

Ngarimu is a member of our People, Culture and Safety Committee and our Regulatory Committee.

Board committees

The board has four committees.

Risk and Assurance Committee

Members:

  • Cassandra Crowley (Chair)
  • Victoria Carter

Regulatory Committee

Members:

  • Catherine Taylor (Chair)
  • David Smol
  • Ngarimu Blair

Investment and Delivery Committee

Members:

  • John Bridgman (Chair)
  • Cassandra Crowley

People, Culture and Safety Committee

Members:

  • Victoria Carter (Chair)
  • Catherine Taylor
  • Ngarimu Blair

Board meetings

View the schedule of board meetings in 2024

Board minutes

Minutes of board meetings are published following confirmation at a subsequent board meeting and after an internal process to identify content needing to be withheld under the Official Information Act 1982.

Read the minutes of past meetings

Board decisions

Find out about the board's recent investment decisions