Chief Executive and Secretary for Transport

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Chief Executive and Secretary for Transport


Ministry of Transport

Position purpose

Transport is essential for the lives of every New Zealander – it allows us to access economic and social opportunities within New Zealand. Transport also connects us globally, with international shipping and aviation being critical to the New Zealand economy.

A significant element of New Zealand’s transport infrastructure is Government owned, including $60 billion of road assets and more than $1 billion of rail assets. Transport is a major component of the Governments investment portfolio, with more than $40 billion to be invested over the next decade, predominantly in land transport. The government’s regulatory settings for all modes of transport also have a significant effect on economic, social and environmental performance outcomes.

The Ministry of Transport is the Government’s principal adviser on transport, and one of five agencies making up the Government transport sector. Its core role is to provide impartial, expert advice to the Government to ensure the transport system is able to continue to meet New Zealand’s needs now and into the future. This includes advice on:

  • investment settings for transport, including the development of the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport which directs land transport funding administered by the NZTA and Local Government

  • policy and regulatory settings for all modes of transport

  • Crown entity governance, performance and accountability.

The Ministry also has a longer term stewardship role to provide thought leadership on issues and options for shaping the transport system for New Zealand.

Through its advice it aims to:

  • improve the overall performance of the transport system

  • improve the performance of transport Crown entities

  • achieve better value for money for the government from its investment in the transport system

To undertake its roles, the Ministry needs to:

  • understand the transport environment and how all users, organisations and local authorities that participate in the transport system will respond to different settings

  • lead thinking on strategy for the success of the overall system

  • facilitate conversations across the transport sector to align activities to improve the performance of the transport system.

The Secretary is not only responsible for leading the Ministry, but also for various leadership roles in the transport sector and across government, including as the Chair of the Transport Sector Leadership Group, the New Zealand Search and Rescue Council, the National Road Safety Committee and the government’s Maritime Security Oversight Committee.

Key external relationships

Government and Parliament

Minister of Transport

Associate Minister of Transport


The New Zealand government transport sector includes the Ministry of Transport, four Crown entities and three State-owned enterprises; the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), Transport Accident Investigation Commission, Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd; Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), and New Zealand Railways Corporation (KiwiRail).

The Department works closely with many agencies in pursuing its priority outcomes including inter-governmental groups such as; the National Road Safety Committee (with NZTA, NZ Police and Accident Compensation Corporation), and the NZ Search and Rescue Council (with CAA, the Department of Conservation, MNZ, NZ Defence Force and NZ Police). The Department also engages with Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment regarding economic growth, technology systems and regional land transport projects.


International forums include the International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Maritime Organisation and International Transport Forum.

Communities and the public

Local Government, represented by Local Government New Zealand (regional councils, district and city councils, and unitary authorities) and the Society of Local Government Managers.

Organisations that represent private, Iwi and non-governmental organisations, including industry groups (Automobile Association, Motor Trade Association, Bus and Coach Association, Business New Zealand, NZ Airports Association, Board of Airline Representatives, and the Road Transport Group) and major commercial land transport, shipping, port and airport companies.

Performance profile


The Chief Executive is directly responsible to the appropriate Minister for their responsibilities under legislation including the State Sector Act 1988, the Public Finance Act 1989, and other relevant statutes. On a day-to-day basis the State Services Commissioner acts as the Chief Executive’s employer and is responsible for assessing their performance and that of their departments.

The Chief Executive is also accountable for delivery of the Ministry’s functions, which are to:

  • lead the understanding of strategic issues across the transport sector

  • provide the Government advice on transport policy, regulation and investment

  • ensure Vote Transport funding is invested as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that Government priorities are met, including across the transport Crown entities

  • provide advice on performance of Crown entities in the sector

The government invests around $32 million in the Ministry of Transport annually and plans to have a workforce size of around 155 staff over the next four years, mostly policy related, to fulfil its role.

The Ministry administers a Vote of in excess of $4 billion and is responsible for the forecasting and revenue collection of nearly $3 billion for the national Land Transport Fund. Further information on the Ministry of Transport is available at:


Supporting the Ministers’ priority areas of:

  • Delivering on the Government’s transport commitments - currently including Roads of National Significance, Accelerated Auckland Transport projects, the Accelerated Regional Roading Programme, and the Urban Cycleway Programme

  • Auckland – currently through the Auckland transport alignment and City Rail Link programmes

  • technology and the environment – currently through the climate change and electric vehicle programme and Intelligent Transport Systems Technology Action Plan implementation programme

  • supporting the export economy – currently through international air services liberalisation and international airline regulation

  • a multi-modal approach – currently through the Ministry’s investment programme, including the new investment strategy and the Government Policy Statement on land transport 2018

  • safety – currently through the Safer Journeys programme, including the development of the Action Plan 2016-2020, and the Transport Rules programme.

Over the next three to five years, the Chief Executive will need to focus on:

  • building stakeholder relationships across the transport sector, the State Sector and Ministers

  • strengthening the Ministry’s capability, focussing on Crown entity governance, accountability and sector performance

  • ensure the stock of legislation relating to the transport sector remains fit for purpose and able to respond to a changing environment.

Person profile

Leadership and Stewardship

Excellent leadership by Public Service Chief Executives is essential for a high performing, professional and world class State sector. Underpinning chief executive leadership is the requirement to adhere to the Standards of Integrity and Conduct and the higher bar expected of chief executive behaviour.

Chief executive stewardship responsibilities reinforce that chief executives administer their departments on behalf of others; serving current and future Minsters and meeting the needs of all New Zealanders.

The stewardship responsibility requires chief executives to plan and actively manage for the medium term and long term interests. This applies to all aspects of the department including capability; information and privacy stewardship; legislation administered; and managing the assets and liabilities of the Crown.

Chief executives are also stewards of the system and are required to achieve cross-agency, sector and system results by leading, collaborating and exerting their influence in a cohesive way across boundaries and ensuring their staff have both the authority and motivation to do likewise.

Position specific competencies

The competencies outlined below are the specific requirements of the role at this time. To see the full range of capabilities required go to:

Leading strategically

Think, plan and act strategically; to engage others in the visions and position teams, organisations, and sectors to meet customer and future needs.

Leading with influence

Lead and communicate in a clear, persuasive, and impactful way; to convince others to embrace change and take action.

Enhancing system performance

Work collectively across boundaries; to deliver sustainable and long-term improvements to system and customer outcomes.

Leading at the political interface

Bridge the interface between Government and the Public Sector; to engage political representatives and shape and implement the Government’s policy priorities.

Enhancing People performance

Manage people performance and bring out the best in managers and staff; to deliver high quality results for customers.

Achieving ambitious goals

Demonstrate achievement, drive, ambition, optimism, and delivery-focus; to make things happen and achieve ambitious outcomes.

Honest and courageous

Deliver the hard messages, and makes unpopular decisions in a timely manner; to advance the longer-term best interests of customers and New Zealand.

Security Clearance

Appointment will be subject to a New Zealand Government Top Secret security clearance.

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