Emergency works policies review

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) has reviewed the emergency works investment policies, including funding assistance rates (FARs) relating to work categories 141 – emergency works and 140 - minor works.

We recently sought feedback from approved organisations and stakeholders on our proposed changes to the emergency works investment policies.

The proposed changes are outlined in our consultation document.

Emergency Works Consultation 2024 [PDF, 274 KB]

For an overview of the proposed changes please view the recording of our webinar:

Webinar slide deck [PDF, 807 KB]

Our next steps

Emergency works investment policies review

Background to the Review

Currently the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) helps fund emergency works at a normal FAR or enhanced FAR to ensure:

  • an immediate response for public safety or to provide vital access; and
  • reinstatement of customer levels of service.

In recent years, the intensity, scale, and number of significant emergency events, including major weather events in the North Island and top of the South Island, have meant the 3-year NLTF provision for emergency works has been exceeded over multiple years. This has triggered NZTA’s review of the emergency works policies and FARs.

NZTA’s emergency works investment policies comprise:

141 – Emergency works

140 – Minor works

Uneconomic transport infrastructure policy

The investment policies are supported by guides, templates and processes on our website.

Scope of the Review

In 2023/24 we reviewed our emergency works investment policies. The purpose of the review was to ensure emergency works investment policies are fit for purpose within the context of the likelihood of a continued increase in frequency and intensity of emergency events, and to ensure the ongoing sustainability of funding assistance via the NLTF, local government share and Crown funding sources for response, recovery and rebuild phases.

In scope

The scope of Phase 1 of the Review up to April 2024 included:

  • Assessment of current and future potential funding sources and parameters including FARs, criteria for a qualifying emergency event, consideration of insurance of an available fund.
  • Review of investment operational policies, including work categories 141 and 140, definitions, alignment with LTMA, process changes, implications for planning.
  • Review of the uneconomic transport infrastructure policy.

Phase 2 of the Review commencing in June 2024 will include:

  • Working with the Government on the potential for increasing borrowing facilities and/or Government support.
  • Developing principles to guide use of different funding sources and their appropriateness for funding emergency works.
  • Providing training or information to assist the sector in applying changes resulting from the Review.

Out of scope

The scope of the Review excluded:

  • Heavy rail infrastructure and operations (addressed via the Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP) with separate funding arrangements).
  • Development of an investment policy on managed retreat (the Review will inform development of guidance relating to options for responding to significant damage to roading networks, which could subsequently inform an investment policy).
  • Funding and investment decisions – the Review did not include decision making on specific investments/funding of activities.
  • Design of application, reconciliation audit or other operational procedures.
  • Changes to the Land Transport Management Act (although, the project may recommend changes to LTMA).

You can find out more about the review and case for change here.

Overview of review process and case for change [PDF, 157 KB]

Summary of existing state and desired future state

NZTA assessed the current state and future state to inform the Review:

Current state

  • policies can enable response​ and recovery
  • networks lack resilience​
  • high damage/costs from frequent events
  • variation in policy interpretation and application including unclear definitions​
  • processes are clear with flexibility
  • reactive not proactive​ focus
  • affordability challenges
  • potentially not achieving value for money.

Future state

  • policies enable response​, recovery and resilience
  • networks more resilient over longer term​
  • reduction in damage/costs from frequent events​
  • improved delineation between phases response, recovery, rebuild (clear definitions)
  • policy and guidance easy to understand and apply​
  • clear and efficient processes​
  • proactive and reactive​ focus
  • more predictable and sustainable funding ​
  • better understanding of value for money and ways to achieve this.

Analysis of options relating to the FAR (including historic and projected impacts of different FAR)

We undertook an analysis of emergency expenditure over the past 10 years. This included looking at the frequency of events, and the financial impact on the NLTF against what had been allocated and broke this down by the type and frequency and expenditure.

This was supported by historic and projected impacts of the status quo (if current FARs were left unchanged) and the potential impacts of different FAR options. Options were tested with the Project Working group and Steering group.

You can see a summary of key data and findings that informed the development of options here

Supporting information and options analysis [PDF, 587 KB]

Summary of proposed changes to definitions, processes, and operational policies

As part of the Emergency Works Review, NZTA has identified the following key changes to the policies for feedback. These are summarised as follows:

  • Updates to work categories 140 and 141 to apply in the 2024-27 period (subject to any decisions on FARs that would apply from 1 July 2025).
  • Adding fire to the list of qualifying events and, removing drought because it is not a sudden event.
  • Use of updated definitions of response, recovery, rebuild, resilience, readiness.
  • Link to definition of `like for like’ to clarify the distinction between costs of recovery and costs of improvement.
  • Clarification of processes and planning including making it easier to apply for resilience improvements after an emergency event.
  • Encouraging councils to include provision for emergency response and recovery in Regional Land Transport Plans to ensure they are ready if events occur.
  • Update of the uneconomic transport infrastructure policy to:
    • Better consider value for money alongside wider outcomes, including considering non-monetised benefits (for example social and cultural impacts) alongside a benefit cost ratio or net present value in a funding decision.
    • Include a requirement that alternative funding sources are explored (for example Regional Infrastructure Fund, insurance, Tourism Infrastructure Fund, etc.)
    • Consider options for access or a different level of service.
    • Consider community led retreat proposals, where relevant, in line with wider Government policy.
    • Consider iwi/Māori access to ancestral lands, marae, pakakāinga and other sites of significance.

Proposed changes to work categories and investment policies [PDF, 286 KB]

Proposed emergency works definitions [PDF, 188 KB]

For more information, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Emergency works investment policies review FAQs [PDF, 304 KB]