This page relates to the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme.
This page outlines the requirements of peer reviews to ensure the robustness evaluations of an approved organisation or Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (for its own activities), and to reduce risk to the delivery of desired outcomes from our (Waka Kotahi as investor) investment decisions.
The purpose of the peer review is to reduce the risks that projects either do not deliver on the outcomes forecast in the funding application, or they fail to deliver the outcomes at the level of efficiency and effectiveness stated in the application.
We require a peer review of improvement activity business cases with estimated whole-of-life costs over $15 million or where a significant level of risk is involved.
We encourage approved organisations and Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to have small projects (between $2 million and $15 million implementation cost) peer reviewed if the cost and/or benefit risks associated with these are considered high or the applicant lacks experience in the development and implementation of such projects. In any event, all small project evaluations should be internally peer reviewed.
The reviewer must raise in writing with the applicant organisation any:
The reviewer must request that the applicant organisation:
The reviewer must note any outstanding concerns in the review report.
The peer review of improvement activities must include a range of considerations.
We require an independent, external peer review for any improvement activity business case with estimated whole-of-life costs over $15 million or any that involves a significant level of risk. Where a peer review is required or warranted, the peer reviewer shall be selected and appointed by the applicant and must:
For very large, complex programmes and activities, a peer review panel, covering a range of competencies, may be more appropriate.
We reserve the right to undertake our own peer review of any activity or to require the approved organisation or Waka Kotahi (for its own activities) to appoint a specific peer reviewer or to establish a peer review panel with appropriate competencies.
The reviewer must first determine whether the activity is eligible for funding in that it fits the description of one of the activity classes in the current Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS).
The reviewer must ensure that the activity evaluation conforms to the requirements of this Knowledge Base, including that it has been assessed by the applicant in conformance with the Waka Kotahi Investment Prioritisation Method.
To check credibility, the reviewer must:
The reviewer must assess the do-minimum as stated in the activity report and must determine whether it is realistic, and does not represent another option to be considered in the analysis.
The reviewer must examine the evaluation and judge whether all feasible alternatives and options have been identified and considered adequately. These should consider the hierarchy of interventions, including low-cost options.
The reviewer needs to be satisfied that the process for selecting the preferred alternative and option(s) has been robust and includes incremental assessment where appropriate.
The reviewer needs to be satisfied that the GPS alignment rating for the activity is correct.
The reviewer shall check compliance with parallel cost estimate process requirements, where applicable.
See the Cost estimation manual (SM014) for details.
The reviewer must determine whether the cost–benefit appraisal has conformed to all the relevant requirements of the MBCM. The reviewer must determine whether there are any outstanding issues not addressed in the activity report.
If there is a departure from the requirements, or any defect or omission, the reviewer must comment on its significance.
Where the reviewer considers there have been discrepancies and departures from procedure, or has concerns about cost and/or benefit estimation, the reviewer will determine the activity benefit–cost ratio (BCR) and compare this with the applicant’s calculations.
The reviewer must determine whether the options identified in the analysis are mutually exclusive options of the same activity. If the options identified:
In special cases, other economic impacts may be considered (eg wider economic benefits). These are to be shown as sensitivity analyses, in addition to the MBCM procedure economic analysis.
Where supplementary (third party) funding is involved, a government BCR must be determined in addition to the national BCR.
The reviewer must ensure that:
The reviewer must consider whether the sensitivity of critical aspects of the activity evaluation has been covered off adequately, paying particular attention to:
We require all projects in the research programme to undergo external peer reviews. The participation of peer reviewers is integral to the success of the research programme and ensures that we receive a satisfactory report at the completion of a research project.
Peer review guidelines and the agreement form for research projects are available on the Waka Kotahi Research programme page.
Peer reviews are required on completion of a research project and before the presentation of any final report to Waka Kotahi for editing and publishing. Peer reviews may also be required after the completion of individual stages or tasks if specified as milestones in the approved research project plan.
The researcher must organise the peer reviewers and peer review process. This requirement is set out in the procurement documents for research projects.
The research proposal must include a clear description of the reviews that will be undertaken during the course of the project, at what point those reviews will be completed, and by whom. The reviewers must be expert peers or users who will have given their prior agreement to the project’s timeframe. This will ensure the timely provision of comments or advice.
Peer reviewers independently review research reports, whereas steering group members may be called on to act as mentors during the progress of a project.
Reviewers are often in a position to provide guidance and professional advice.