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NLTP Bulletin

17 October 2019



Welcome to the NLTP Bulletin, our newsletter with information about management of the current National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and what we're working on for the development of the 2021-24 NLTP.



2018-21 NLTP funding and management

Each quarter we'll share with you progress on the funding and delivery of the 2018-21 NLTP. The above graph shows funding expenditure to the end of 30 June 2019.

Final audited numbers will be included in the Annual Report for the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), published this month as part of our Annual Report. The unaudited numbers provide a reliable preview of the position.

As a reminder, up-to-date information on funding approvals can be accessed via our Transport Investment Online (TIO) system.

* Regional Improvements and Walking and Cycling activities include both local authority and state highway project values.


Funding application approvals

In the 13 months to the end of September 2019, we have approved 403 requests for $3.4 billion of funding from the NLTF. More than three-quarters of the requests we received were endorsed during this period, with an average approval time of between 14 and 31 days.

Two-thirds ($2.3 billion) of the approved funding was for new projects or the next phase of projects - the remaining funding was for price level adjustments, cost/scope change requests, emergency works and standard safety interventions.

We’re in the process of putting KPIs around our processing times. We'll share these with you and report on them so you have a better understanding of what happens after we receive your applications.


Managing available funding in this NLTP is challenging. Demand for funding exceeds what is available, requiring us to prioritise funding in each activity class. Our next prioritisation round is taking place this month and will review expenditure and allocate any funding that has become available because projects aren't proceeding.

The outcomes of the prioritisation round in April have been loaded into TIO, including the status of the project, and whether it is likely or unlikely in this NLTP period.

Likely means these projects are expected to proceed, subject to a successful business case and funding being available, when the application is received. An unlikely project is not expected to be funded during the 2018-21 NLTP.

This information will continually be updated and we've also added a comment field to provide context behind any changes.


This NLTP has highlighted limitations with our processes which we are working to improve. This includes our real-time information on funding and updating the categorisation of phases to identify projects which have been signalled as likely or unlikely to be funded. 

We are keen to hear your ideas and views about how we can make the funding position for your organisation and the NLTP more transparent and informative.

Please send your suggestions and feedback to  

Co-investment management

To help us effectively manage the NLTF, it's important that you regularly update your forecasts and claims in TIO, and that your project phasing is correct. Reliable information is critical for us to know what funding remains available to get new projects underway.

We need to bring more rigour to our monitoring compliance and look at how we manage non-compliance, and both of these form part of our improvement project.



Public transport fare policy changes

We’re undertaking a review of our public transport fare policy, recognising the need to better support mode shift, improve access and provide councils with greater flexibility to address public transport affordability.

This will include elements of the current national farebox recovery policy, as well as broader guidelines recognising the wider impacts of fare policy on people and cities.

The farebox recovery policy introduced in 2010 included a national farebox recovery target of not less than 50%. This target has not applied since the launch of the 2018-21 NLTP. While at this stage we aren't proposing to introduce a new target, the underlying principles of the current policy still apply when developing regional fare policies:

  • fare policies should be consistent with the wider objectives in Regional Public Transport Plans and contribute to the government’s transport priorities;
  • fares play an important role in helping cover the cost of public transport within available budgets; and
  • farebox recovery is one component to consider when planning fare revenue and reviewing fare levels, but should not be the only measure considered.

It's important councils still manage their fare revenue and public transport budgets within current funding allocations, as the same funding constraints within the wider NLTP apply for public transport.

We’re investing a record $3.9 billion in public transport during this NLTP and it's unlikely there will be additional funding for fare reductions before the next NLTP in June 2021. Any funding requests need to follow the standard cost scope adjustment process.

We'll advise further details on the scope and engagement of the public transport fare policy review once this is finalised.



What we're working on now

Here's the latest information on what we're doing to help us to work better together as we develop the 2021-24 NLTP.


Business Case Approach

We acknowledge that many of you have concerns about the Business Case Approach (BCA) and we’re proposing a range of improvements to make it easier for everyone.

We’ve already reviewed the business cases in TIO and found that almost three-quarters of the annual spend already goes through some form of streamlined process, such as Standard Safety Interventions or Continuous Programmes.

We've identified two additional areas, walking and cycling and public transport improvements, where we'll look to see if it is practical to develop more streamlined processes.

We're also aware that it’s the business cases that aren't going through a streamlined process that are causing concern. To improve these, we’re considering a range of other opportunities including:

  • Reviewing how we better use existing strategic council planning documents as strategic and/or programme business cases.
  • Providing exemplar business cases based on risk and complexity for the different types of business cases.
  • Considering how we can use results from the REG Excellence Framework to give you more autonomy when it comes to investment-decision making.
  • Clearer guidance on the development of the different types of business cases.

We expect to be able to provide you with more detail on this work in December.

Capability building

A new focus in the development of the 2021-24 NLTP is to build both our own and sector capability in the BCA and the assessment and prioritisation of investment proposals. While we have developed a range of tools and targeted learning since we introduced the BCA, we recognise there is the need to do more to make it easier for everyone involved.

We’re looking at providing tools and guidance that is specifically targeted to those who would benefit from it and making this available via a new Investment Capability Portal. We’re also looking at building smart tools and business case examples through each phase of this process.

We'll provide better training for our staff who are involved in the development, assessment and prioritisation of business case so they can better support you with your investment planning. This will ensure we're all in a better position for the development of the 2021-24 NLTP.

Investment performance measures

We've developed a suite of measures to help us understand where the land transport system is performing well and where it isn't. These measures align with the Ministry of Transport's Transport Outcomes, and the GPS.

They're also part of our benefits management framework and will roll into our Investment Decision-Making Framework (IDMF) to help us assess activities for inclusion in future NLTPs.

We’re releasing data that we and other central government agencies have gathered against many of these performance measures. While there is a lot of data, some will have more emphasis, reflecting the priorities of the government of the day - which are currently safety and access.

We hope that providing access to this data will help us come to a shared understanding of the land transport challenges and opportunities in your regions and help with decision-making. We’ll also be able to have better quality evidence-based conversations about projects.

To get access to the data, please email and provide your name, position, and organisation.

We know this data is not perfect or comprehensive yet, but it will play an increasing role in identifying transport challenges and opportunities for investment. We therefore welcome feedback on the quality and value of this data.

We'd also like to hear whether there are other data sources you think we should access to help us to understand the local and comparative national implications for the land transport system, and impacts on communities and the environment.



More information


For more information on the NLTP, you can visit our website or contact us online.