Transit New Zealand

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Transit New Zealand
Transit New Zealand logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed1 October 1989
Preceding agencies
  • National Roads Board
  • Main Highways Board
Dissolved31 July 2008
Superseding agency
JurisdictionNew Zealand government
HeadquartersFormerly: Level 2 Victoria Arcade
42-44 Victoria Street
New Zealand
Employees450 (2008)
Annual budgetOver $1 billion NZD (2008)
Ministers responsible
Agency executives
  • Bryan Jackson, JP, Acting Chairperson
  • Rick van Barneveld, Chief Executive
Parent agencyMinistry of Transport

Transit New Zealand (Māori: Ararau Aotearoa), which existed from 1989 to 2008, was the New Zealand Crown entity responsible for operating and planning the New Zealand state highway network (10,894 km, about 12% of New Zealand's roads). It also concerned itself with developments close to state highways, as it considered the potential additional traffic that these would create, and it was responsible for state highway landscaping.

Transit New Zealand was merged with Land Transport New Zealand to form the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on 1 August 2008. Transit's website was still active up to 9 December 2009, when the new NZTA website was launched with streamlined information from the Transit website.[1]


Transit had an annual operating budget of over NZ$1 billion and about 450 staff, with much of its actual planning and design work contracted out to construction companies and consultancies. Almost all of its funding was approved by the government's land transport funding agency Land Transport New Zealand through the National Land Transport Programme. Until 1996 Transit approved subsidies for passenger transport services contracted by regional councils, before this was devolved to Transfund and then Land Transport New Zealand (now NZTA).

However, the government proposed that Land Transport New Zealand and Transit New Zealand be merged again, with some functions devolved to the Ministry of Transport.[2] This eventually took place in 2008, creating the NZTA.


Transit New Zealand was the successor to similar previous entities. The Main Highways Board, created on 1 April 1924, to facilitate the overall planning and control of roads on a national basis, especially arterial routes, under the control of the Public Works Department. Initially it divided the country into 18 highway districts.[3] After World War II, the National Roads Board was formed. During this time, deferred maintenance and a great need for bridge works were complicated by a lack of manpower, plant and materials at a time when traffic volumes rose steeply and rural areas were opened up to road traffic.[4]

During the economic reforms of the 1980s direct Government control of service provision was reduced, and new methods of providing for roads were developed. On 1 April 1988, the Ministry of Works and Development was corporatised and the National Roads Board's operational arm, the Roading Division, was incorporated into the Ministry of Transport. On 1 October 1989 it became Transit New Zealand.[4][5]

The agency also came under some criticism for being 'anti-development'. It often lodged objections to resource consent applications which in its opinion created safety or capacity problems on close-by motorways (such as large retail developments like Sylvia Park) or required substantial consultation and mitigating measures for them before they were allowed to go ahead.[6] Rodney District Council once threatened court action, alleging that the agency was effectively preventing any substantial development within its area.[7]


  1. ^ "New website for the NZTA" (PDF). Pathways. NZ Transport Agency (7): 8. December 2009. ISSN 1173-1826. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Transport bodies set to merge". The New Zealand Herald. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Main Highways". Press. 1 October 1923. p. 8. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b More about Transit - History Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine (from the official Transit New Zealand website. Accessed 7 February 2008.)
  5. ^ "Funding assistance rates (FAR) review : Special Purpose Roads History" (PDF). NZ Transport Agency. p. 4. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  6. ^ Woodham, Kerre (11 June 2006). "Kerre Woodham: Why I'm avoiding the maul". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  7. ^ Dearnaley, Mathew (5 April 2006). "Transit puts up red light to growth". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2011.