This page relates to the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme.


This page describes the local road and state highway maintenance activity classes and provides links to road maintenance programme requirements, work category definitions and guidance, and profiling and prioritisation of road maintenance programmes.

There are two activity classes:

  • local road maintenance – applies to approved organisations only
  • state highway maintenance – applies to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (for its own activities) only.

The definitions for the activity classes are:

  • operate – investment in the operation of existing state highways and local roads to deliver an appropriate level of services.
  • maintain – investment in the maintenance of existing state highways and local roads to deliver an appropriate level of service, excluding asset upgrades.
  • renew – investment in renewal of existing state highways and local roads to deliver an appropriate level of service.
  • emergency – urgent response to transport network disruptions to restore an appropriate level of service.

Government expectations

We (Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as investor) expect that investments from the local road and state highways maintenance activity classes will contribute to results sought by the government.

Government expectations by activity class

Qualifying for National Land Transport Programme consideration

For us to consider a road maintenance activity for inclusion in the 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), this activity must:

  • be public, ie be defined as any road that is available to the public on a full-time basis
  • be included in a regional land transport plan (RLTP)
  • meet the definition of road maintenance activities in the Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021
  • fit into an appropriate work category in this knowledge base.

Once an activity is included in the NLTP to be considered for funding, the approved organisation and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) must comply with the Waka Kotahi Procurement manual and procurement rules, as well as any relevant standards and guidelines as listed in the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency register of network standards and guidelines.

Procurement manual

NZ Transport Agency register of network standards and guidelines

Road maintenance work categories

The local road and state highway maintenance activity classes contain the following work categories under each of the GPS expenditure reporting lines:

Note that renewals activities (work categories beginning with 2) should consider the need for a Safe System audit.

Safe System audit

Developing road maintenance programmes

Road maintenance programmes are continuous programmes of relatively low-cost, low-risk activities required to maintain appropriate levels of service on the roading, footpath and cycling network. As continuous programmes they have no start or end date. However, the detail required to establish the appropriate investment levels is developed on a three-year cycle that aligns with the NLTP cycle. Approval of funding assistance from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) normally covers the three-year period of each NLTP and is made when the NLTP is adopted by the Waka Kotahi Board.

Emergency works are an exception in that expenditure is considered for NLTF approval during the course of the NLTP in response to each event. Funding is approved individually on a project basis, with start and end dates for the immediate response and permanent reinstatement of levels of service as a result of the impact of natural events, eg severe storm events.

We expect approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to follow our investment principles in developing and delivering their road maintenance programmes.

Investment principles

Links to planning

We expect approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to link their proposals to long-term planning documents, in particular:

  • activity management plans (AMPs)
  • council long-term plans (LTPs)
  • regional land transport plans (RLTPs).

These documents should describe the information and assumptions underlying the network management.

Information required

The information approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) provide in Transport Investment Online to support maintenance programmes should make reference to the relevant parts of long-term planning documents.

Transport Investment Online(external link)

Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) will develop forward work programmes and budgets for the road maintenance programme to support greater consistency in the delivery of customer levels of service as set out in the One Network Road Classification (ONRC) framework.

One Network Road Classification

The road maintenance programme should demonstrate:

  • how the proposed road operations, maintenance and renewal activities fit within the maintenance programme
  • where necessary, the links to proposed improvement activities (under the improvements activity classes)
  • how it optimises the life-cycle costs of the road networks in delivering the customer levels of service.

Concept of base and enhanced programmes for roads 

Base programme

The base programme represents our assessment of eligible works within an approved organisation’s and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) programme of maintenance work required to achieve or maintain the existing level of service.

Enhanced programme

An enhanced programme is where we provide funding above the base amount. Any funding above the base programme will be fully contestable. Enhanced programmes provide a step change in the level of maintenance effort that is used to lift the current level of service. Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) seeking additional investment in maintenance will need to evidence the investment through the business case approach for it to be tested against other investments to ensure it demonstrates value for money.

Enhanced funding may be considered for a programme that requires a significant change in investment, greater than that established in the base programme, to address the customer levels of service opportunities sought under our Investment Priority Method criteria.

We may agree to enhanced funding for a programme if:

  • funding is available in the activity class for enhanced funding requests, and
  • the enhanced funding component of the programme proposal and funding request is supported by a robust customer-focused business case that clearly demonstrates the value of investing in the level of service change (note: this justification may be in the AMP), and
  • it is demonstrated that the service level change can be delivered efficiently and achieve the associated benefits on a sustainable basis.

Customer levels of service

The ONRC has been adopted by the transport sector to ensure national consistency around the levels of service delivered by the road network. The Road Efficiency Group (REG) including Waka Kotahi has developed a suite of performance measures to support the next phase of implementing the ONRC in the 2021–24 NLTP.

One Network Road Classification

All approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) are required to provide evidence of the customer levels of service they propose to deliver and how these relate to the ONRC measures.

The new One Network Framework (ONF) will be ready for national implementation for the 2024–27 RLTP cycle. Approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) need to demonstrate how long-term planning documents respond to the direction set out by REG to move to the ONF during 2021–24.

Performance measures to support programme submission

Maintenance programme submissions from approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) may be supported by and take account of a wider set of performance measures than those currently mandated in support of the ONRC. For example, an approved organisation may wish to support their submission with their long-term planning measures in addition to the ONRC measures.

For the allocation of maintenance programme funding in the 2021–24 NLTP, we have focused primarily on the assessment of transport network performance as measured against ONRC requirements.

Performance targets for the 2024–27 NLTP

We expect development of the suite of ONF performance measures will continue during 2021–24, including a set of specific performance targets, ready for national implementation in the 2024–27 NLTP.

Requirements of road maintenance programmes

Details of road operations, maintenance, renewal and improvements activities must be held by the organisation responsible for the programme.

Consideration should be given to:

  • the relationship between recommendations in the approved organisation’s and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) AMPs
  • changes from national and regional levels of service targets relating to road user satisfaction, safety and asset preservation
  • quality assurance
  • innovation.

Differences in levels of service will have an impact on funding assistance.

For further guidance, refer to requirements of a road maintenance programme.

Requirements of a road maintenance programme

Business case assessment and funding decisions

We recommend early engagement with our investment advisors as they are available for support and guidance throughout the business case process. See also Business Case Approach guidance on our website.

Business Case Approach guidance

Early engagement and assessment will:

  • enable all involved parties to negotiate the base programme
  • allow us to give a view on the merits of an enhanced programme before the approved organisation or Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) submits the initial draft request
  • in the period between submission of the initial and the final programme proposals, enable the approved organisation and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to respond to the base and enhanced programme discussions and to provide more information, an amended programme or a combination of both.


  • understand that the content and timing for the development of a maintenance programme submission under the relevant NLTP must take account of the other statutory obligations and business processes of approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) including the timing for renewing service delivery contracts
  • expect every organisation to set out a clear plan (including timetable, programme scope and cost) for the implementation of the ONF
  • use the assessment of an organisation’s AMP, organisational capability for activity management and procurement to also inform its decisions for the NLTP
  • intend to provide feedback to each organisation before the organisation lodges its final programme request.

Profiling and prioritising road maintenance programmes

Road maintenance programmes are profiled and prioritised under the Waka Kotahi Investment Prioritisation Method (IPM). 

2021-24 NLTP Investment Prioritisation Method

The IPM for the 2021–24 NLTP includes the following:

  • Based on the GPS 2021, activities prioritised as continuous programmes include the local road maintenance programme with its operations, maintenance and renewal activities and the state highways maintenance programme with its operations, maintenance and renewal activities.
  • The IPM develops a profile based on three factors:
    • the GPS alignment rating: we will use this to profile the significance of a problem, issue or opportunity relative to desired results set out in the GPS
    • scheduling: indicates the criticality or interdependency of the proposed activity or combination of activities with other activities in a programme or package or as part of a network
    • efficiency: indicates the expected return on investment and considers the whole-of-life costs and benefits through cost–benefit analysis. For road maintenance programmes this is based on assessment of the relative cost-effectiveness of the programme and its elements through peer group and sector benchmarking comparisons.

We expect to provide some level of funding to all continuous programmes. On this basis, we assign continuous programmes a rating of HHM, priority order 4, as the ʽstarting point’ for investment prioritisation, reflecting the importance of such programmes to maintaining ongoing levels of service. We then assess the investment proposals to determine:

  • how well the proposed programme identifies and prioritises gaps that align with and contribute to GPS strategic priorities, as well as our other statutory obligations. Programmes found to not align well with GPS strategic priorities could see a reduction in the GPS alignment rating. The converse is also true: programmes found to align very well with GPS strategic priorities could see an increase in the GPS alignment rating
  • the quality of the decision-making framework within the AMP or regional public transport plan (RPTP) on how they optimise their plan, programmes and activities. Poor/excellent optimisation could see a reduction/increase in the scheduling rating
  • the approved organisation’s or Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) performance over the previous NLTP
  • efficiency based on benchmarking across approved organisations in terms of the cost to deliver the outcome. That is, if the proposed programme is more expensive per unit of outcome, then a lower efficiency rating may be assigned; if more cost effective, then a higher efficiency rating may be assigned recognising every dollar spent should deliver more outcome.

The assessment of investment proposals and the resulting priority order will assist us in determining the merits of investing to different levels in the various continuous programmes submitted.

All continuous programmes are developed through the application of continuous improvement practices, and ideally involve regular engagement with and feedback from us on the merits of the supporting AMP or RPTP. We expect these programmes to achieve at least a medium GPS alignment rating. Programmes that do not achieve a medium rating will be the subject of additional scrutiny as part of the NLTP decision making and we may have to apply additional conditions of funding to the approved programme investment. Any other risks or issues may also be addressed through conditions attached to the funding decision.

Conditions of funding

Typically, we will approve funding for a road maintenance programme for all three years in an NLTP, as part of the NLTP adoption. However, we may decide to impose terms and conditions on funding for all or part of the approved programme, due to:

  • insufficient information submitted to provide us with the confidence to approve funding in full
  • a lack of confidence in the forecasts provided in support of the application for funding, or
  • network performance indicators providing evidence of low returns on investment with insufficient or unreliable evidence that returns will improve.

The terms and conditions may apply across all three years of an NLTP or to particular years, eg we may approve funding the first year of a road maintenance programme in the newly adopted NLTP but set conditions that have to be met before funding is released in the subsequent year.