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Investment decision-making framework


Waka Kotahi NZ 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.

Waka Kotahi 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 Waka Kotahi 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.

Waka Kotahi 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 Waka Kotahi 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 Waka Kotahi 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

IMDF frequently asked questions

Previous updates

  • 22 December 2020

    The Investment Prioritisation Method

    The Investment Prioritisation Method for the 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) has been finalised. It replaces the Investment Assessment Framework used for the 2018-21 NLTP.

    The Investment Prioritisation Method (IPM) will be used to give effect to the Government Policy Statement on land transport 2021 (GPS 2021) in the 2021–24 NLTP.

    It includes moving from two prioritisation factors to three (as was the case before 2018), to give effect to the GPS 2021. This also includes the three-factor priority order matrix and the Indicative Efficiency Rating tool to prioritise activities for inclusion in the 2021–24 NLTP.

    The IPM applies to activities proposed for the 2021–24 NLTP.

    Investment Prioritisation Method

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  • 21 September 2020

    Consultation begins on draft Investment Prioritisation Method

    Consultation is now open on the draft Investment Prioritisation Method (IPM) for the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and will close on 2 November 2020.

    The draft IPM will replace the Investment Assessment Framework for the 2021-24 period. It has been developed in response to the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2021 and will be used to prioritise activities in the 2021-24 NLTP.

    You can see more details about the draft IPM in our consultation document.

    Consultation document [PDF, 145 KB]

    Draft IPM document [PDF, 299 KB]

    Indicative Efficiency Rating (IER) tool

    We’re asking for your feedback on the draft IPM to be provided via our feedback form, by 2 November 2020.

    Provide your feedback in the online feedback form(external link)

    At this stage, we expect to have a final IPM by mid-December 2020. This does mean some programmes and activities will have already been submitted based on the draft IPM. However, we will ensure that all submissions are checked against the final IPM - both by the investment advisor, and through the moderation process.

    If you have any questions about the consultation process, email

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  • 31 August 2020

    On June 10 the Investment Decision-Making Framework (IDMF) review programme released the IDMF Final report, which summarises the outcomes of the IDMF review and details of the changes.

    The IDMF changes now apply to all business cases started on or after 31 August 2020. These changes relate to investment principles, policies, benefits framework, business case development and assessment and include guidance, tools, templates and exemplars.

    You can view these changes, plus new tools and guidance through InvestHub.

    InvestHub is our new portal which, over time, will become our ‘single access point’ for all investment-related guidance, tools and learning information.

    Go to InvestHub(external link)

    If you have any questions about access or how to apply the new tools, contact your regional investment advisor or email

    To ensure you can confidently adapt to and apply the IDMF changes, we’re put in place training, information sessions, guidance and ongoing support, building on the online information session that was held in June for Approved Organisations and consultants.

    Watch a recording of the session for Approved Organisations(external link)

    We’ve established a Business Case Approach ‘Community of Practice’ to enable users to network, share knowledge and experiences, and discuss any challenges with colleagues across the transport sector.

    We’re committed to investing time in the Community of Practice to support the development of skills and capabilities in the transport sector. To join, email

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  • 7 May 2020

    Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has made the decision to defer consultation on the draft Investment Prioritisation Method for the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (the draft IPM). The draft IPM is intended to replace the Investment Assessment Framework for the 2021-24 period. It has been developed in response to the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2021 (released in March 2020) and will be used to prioritise activities in the 2021-24 NLTP.

    Waka Kotahi has deferred consultation on the draft IPM while it takes the time to understand the impact of COVID-19 on its programmes of work and on investment in the land transport system. It expects to provide a further update soon.

    Between December 2019 and February this year, Waka Kotahi asked for feedback on proposed changes to the IDMF, with a particular focus on the assessment of investment proposals, the development of business cases and low cost, low risk programmes.

    Waka Kotahi would like to thank everyone who took the time to make a submission - the number of responses was encouraging, as was the breadth and depth of the views expressed in these responses.

    A summary of some of the key themes that came through in this feedback is now available:

    Consultation on the IDMF Draft Design Report – summary of key themes [PDF, 386 KB]

    Waka Kotahi will continue to use this feedback to inform the final design of the IDMF, which it expects to release late May.

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  • 21 February 2020

    Consultation has now closed on the changes the Transport Agency is proposing to the Investment Decision-Making Framework.

    These changes relate to the assessment of investment proposals, and the development of business cases and low cost, low risk programmes.

    Information sessions were held earlier this month to give Approved Organisations the opportunity to ask questions about the new design. Attendees raised a number of interesting questions at these sessions and have helped identify where we can be clearer about what is being proposed.

    The Transport Agency would like to thank all those who have taken the time to submit feedback – transport sector feedback is vital in ensuring the final design is the right one. We expect to make a summary of the feedback received available early April.

    We will be consulting separately on the prioritisation approach to the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme, once the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport has been released, expected in March.

    Any questions about the consultation process can be emailed to

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  • 18 October 2019

    The Investigation Stage Report [PDF, 342 KB] of the Investment Decision-Making Framework Review has been released.

    Using research, internal reviews and extensive stakeholder engagement, the Transport Agency has gathered wide-ranging information about the existing framework and its effectiveness, including a significant amount of feedback from local government co-investment partners, sector representatives, stakeholders, our partner the Ministry of Transport, and supporter Local Government New Zealand.

    The report breaks down the findings from the investigation stage into five areas; investment principles and policies, the business case approach, assessment, prioritisation and capability. It details the findings from the investigation into each of these areas, and the next step of the review programme, the design phase. The design phase will be completed by the end of 2019, and the implementation of those changes completed by June 2020.

    The review of the framework was prompted by changes in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) 2018, which places more emphasis on social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes in transport planning.

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  • 19 August 2019

    The Investment Decision-Making Review has progressed from investigation to its next stage – the co-design of the revised framework. The Assessment workstream has held the first of a series of design workshops about assessment, including how it works with the business case approach and how it supports prioritisation of the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

    The attendees at the workshop included people from the NZ Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport (MoT) – who are jointly leading this work – and representatives from local government, Auckland Transport, Treasury, KiwiRail, Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This wide range of people were chosen to make sure the workshop had a variety of perspectives at the table.

    There was support from this group for aligning the new assessment framework with MoT’s Transport Outcomes Framework, which will align benefits to an enduring set of outcomes. They also wanted a system that uses a combination of monetised, quantitative, and qualitative approaches, one that considers sustainability (in particular climate change) and social considerations from the outset of the business case process.

    As importantly, they wanted a framework that considers all modes (including rail), and housing and urban development from the outset.

    Local government representatives in particular wanted a framework that better uses existing local government documents such as Regional Land Transport Plans (RLTP), Activity Management Plans (AMP) and Regional Public Transport Plans (RPTPs).

    The design stage will continue until November this year.

    Feedback from this workshop is being used to help guide an initial draft design, and will then go back out to partners and stakeholders for final consultation, testing and refinement. We want to ensure the sector and Transport Agency staff have the opportunity to help shape how investment decisions will be made. 

    The IDMF programme completed its investigation stage at the end of June. During this stage workshops were held around the country, where the Transport Agency, Ministry of Transport and Local Government NZ hosted Council representatives and other stakeholders to review and recommend changes to the framework. The full report from the investigation stage will be available shortly and will be shared externally with our stakeholders and partners.

    The final stage of the programme is implementation, which will occur early next year and be ready to go live by the end of June 2020.

    To get in touch with the team, email

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