This research investigated the applicability of accessibility planning in New Zealand as a tool for assessing and improving personal access to essential services for all New Zealanders. It canvassed international accessibility planning practices in England, the Netherlands and Southern California to understand the various drivers for its introduction and the different approaches taken in its implementation. All three case studies share the goal of improving individuals’ access to activity centres and recognise that accessibility planning is best undertaken at the local level with some form of central government guidance and monitoring. The English comprehensive accessibility planning framework has been adapted to New Zealand’s existing social services and local government legislative and institutional environment and the recently legislated changes to the government land transport sector. The resulting recommended framework employed a collaborative approach to assess and improve people’s accessibility to employment, food shopping, health, education and social services across New Zealand. All levels of government would participate in the assessment of accessibility, development of priorities, indicators and action plans and monitor progress against outcomes, within government frameworks. Transport actions developed by regional accessibility partnerships to address regional problems would feed directly into their regional land transport programmes for prioritisation for funding.