Draft State Highway Public Engagement Guidelines

Submissions for this consultation is now closed.


The Transport Agency has released this draft State Highway Public Engagement Guidelines for public consultation. This guide sets out the requirements for public engagement that meets the Transport Agency’s commitment to social responsibility and the requirements of statutory approval processes under the Resource Management Act.

Download our draft State highway public engagement guidelines [PDF, 1020 KB]

Please send feedback to environment@nzta.govt.nz

The feedback period will close on Friday 29 April 2016, after which the final document will be prepared and released.

Use of this document in its current release form is strongly encouraged. Post consultation update: Public engagement guidelines published September 2016

About the State Highway Public Engagement Guidelines

The Transport Agency engages with communities and the public because we believe it results in better outcomes – better decisions, better projects and better legacies for the communities we work with.

Engagement brings the voices of communities and stakeholders into decision making which is relevant to them. This relevance might be because they are directly affected by the decision being made, or they might have a personal or professional interest in the issues being discussed. This document sets out the Transport Agency’s engagement policy and provides guidance for deciding when and how to engage the public. It makes clear that there are different levels of public engagement, explains the steps involved in each of these processes and how they relate to our project lifecycle, and provides a number of engagement resources. The State Highway Public Engagement Guidelines are based around six principles:

  1. We know why we are engaging and we communicate this clearly
  2. We know who to engage
  3. We know the history and background
  4. We begin early
  5. We are genuine
  6. We support and encourage best practice

The Public engagement guidelines sets out the Transport Agency’s engagement policy and provides guidance for deciding when and how to engage the public. Although a Highways and Network Operations (HNO) document, the principles contained in this document are applicable across the Transport Agency for any public engagement or consultation process. When dealing with impacts on communities, reference should also be made to the Transport Agency’s Guide to assessing social impacts for state highway projects (2015)

Questions and answers

Why has the transport agency prepared this guide?

This guide seeks to achieve a best practice approach to carrying out public engagement for state highway projects at all stages of a project’s life cycle.  This approach is intended to provide certainty and clarity of expectations for our customers and for the Agency and to appropriately deliver on our commitments to social responsibility.    This guide forms part of the NZ Transport Agency State Highway Environmental and Social Responsibility Standard. 

Why has this draft guide been released for public comment?

We are now seeking feedback to ensure this guide is practical, efficient and effective. In particular, comment is sought from project managers, planners, communications staff and communities who have been involved with Transport Agency consultation or engagement processes.


We’ve put together the following definitions for the purposes of this document:

  • Engagement – the practice of actively bringing community or public voices into decisions that affect or interest them.
  • Public – any individual or group of individuals, organisations, communities or political entity with an interest in a particular area or the outcome of a decision. However, for specific engagement with organisations such as Department of Conservation and Heritage NZ we have memoranda of understandings (MoUs) with, the MoU takes precedence over these guidelines. Also refer to the Relationship proforma manual (SM033) for additional guidance.
  • Consultation – one level of engagement.
  • Consultation report – Prepared after engagement activity has occurred, also known as public engagement report or stakeholder report. A document outlining the key points from the Public Engagement Plan (objectives, level of influence, promise), description of the engagement, key issues, outcomes and how the input is or will be used.