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Investment decision-making framework review

Latest update

25 June 2019

The Investment Decision-Making Framework (IDMF) review has completed the investigation phase with a series of four workshops around the country. The team held workshops in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, which were attended by almost 100 representatives from local government. The workshops were held to discuss the investigation phase and to get feedback from councils’ perspective about where the IDMF needs to be changed. Here are the slides from the workshop [PDF, 1.9 MB].

The events were organised by the NZ Transport Agency in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport, and with the support of Local Government New Zealand.

The feedback from the attendees described the workshops as ‘frank and honest’, that they provided an opportunity to genuinely share ideas for better outcomes, and left the attendees positive about working with the Transport Agency in the future.

There were also some strong themes to come out of the events: the Transport Agency needs to provide better guidance around right-size business cases, take a co-design approach to business cases, and better alignment is needed between business cases and other strategic plans and documents.

The next steps for the IDMF review will be the publication of the full investigation report, with more information and analysis on the information that was gathered during this phase.

The programme is now moving into the design phase, using the information from the investigation phase and working with councils and other stakeholders to co-design changes in how business cases are developed, how we assess and prioritise activities, and how we build capability. The design phase will be completed by the end of the year, and implementation of those changes by June 2020.

For more information about the programme of work, see the information below and in the frequently asked questions.

View frequently asked questions


The New Zealand Transport Agency is reviewing how investments are developed, assessed and prioritised. We're looking at a fundamental change in how we make land transport investment decisions; putting people and place, rather than vehicles and networks, at the centre of our decision-making.

The Transport Agency uses its IDMF to develop, assess and prioritise funding transport investment proposals. The review of this framework has been prompted by changes in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018 (GPS), which places more emphasis on social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes in transport planning.

This includes environmental impact, safety, resilience, access to transport, public health, urban development, and network benefits in transport planning and investment. GPS 2018 also required an investigation of the Transport Agency’s evaluation methods, and this has been incorporated as a core part of the review.

The review will take into account the principles outlined in GPS 2018; that all modes of transport, land use, technology, and innovation are considered and valued in transport investment. We also want to improve the business case approach to making the case for investment.

The Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport are working together to revise the Investment Decision-Making Framework, with support from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ). We’ll also be working with other local government and local authority representatives, as well as NZ Treasury, to get their input into the investigation, design and delivery stages of the review.

2018 Government Policy Statement on Land Transport(external link) (GPS)
Local Government New Zealand(external link) (LGNZ)

Key changes

The review will result in changes to investment decision-making principles and policies, processes, tools and systems to ensure:

  • A shift to a system-based approach to identify, assess and prioritise proposals for future transport investment.
  • All transport modes and alternatives (including walking, cycling, public transport and new transport options such as electric scooters and the use of technology) are considered when planning and investing in land transport.
  • The inclusion of social, economic, cultural, and environmental outcomes in transport planning and investment, and consideration of the wider impact of transport proposals on communities, the environment and surrounding transport infrastructure.
  • A revised system that is robust and easy to use.

We’ll be providing support and resources to help with embedding the new requirements.

The review will focus on five key workstreams:

  • Improved strategic alignment – providing a clear link between investment proposals and long- and short-term plans. We also want to understand how NZTA can better co-ordinate urban development and infrastructure changes to mitigate climate change challenges and contribute to public health improvements.
  • Building the case for investment – developing tools and process that allow flexible development of investment proposals, making sure the right level of effort is put into proposals, and providing clarity on building the case for investment.
  • Assessing a wider range of impacts of transport proposals – making sure our evaluation methods are consistent with whole-of-government, the GPS, and that they are informed by research and international best practice. This will mean a wider view of costs, impacts and benefits to be considered in investment decision-making. 
  • Prioritising investment proposals – improve and simplify the method of prioritising proposals, and looking at how to include social, environmental and economic benefits and impacts in that prioritisation.
  • Building sector capability and confidence – making sure NZTA advice and use of the decision-making framework is consistent, looking at how to build staff and sector capability, and providing information, guidance, tools that are easy to find, understand, and use.


The IDMF review will largely take place throughout 2019 and will be implemented in June 2020, in time for the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2021–24 to be developed.

Implementation will include updated investment policies, processes, tools, and guidance (including updates to the business case approach, criteria for prioritisation and assessment, and evaluation methodologies).

National Land Transport Programme (NLTP)

Next steps

We are working with LGNZ about how best to engage with local government to seek their input and feedback.

We’ll update this page regularly throughout the process.

More information

For more information you can email our programme management team

View frequently asked questions