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Changes to the New Zealand Upgrade Programme

Waka Kotahi welcomes the Government’s confirmation on the direction and funding commitment to deliver the NZ Upgrade Programme.

It means Waka Kotahi will now be able to fully deliver 16 significant projects across the country that have confirmed scopes, costs and timeframes and are designed to respond better to climate change and housing needs.

Communities can look forward to transport improvements that provide more travel choices and help people get where they’re going safely, as well as future proofing and growing our economy, while responding to the impacts of travel on the environment.

These projects include Otaki to North of Levin, the Northern Pathway, Penlink, Papakura to Drury South stage one, SH1/29 in the Waikato, Takitimu North Link stage one, SH58, Melling, and the Canterbury and Queenstown transport packages.

Find out more about the Northern Pathway [PDF, 690 KB]

This is a major step forward from the initiation of the programme when a number of projects were still in their early stages of development, with detailed project information still being established.

To meet climate change and housing objectives, and manage debt responsibly following COVID-19, the Government has decided to make changes to a small number of projects.

They are Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway, Mill Road, Papakura to Drury South stage two and Takitimu North Link stage two.

Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway [PDF, 261 KB]

Mill Road and Papakura Drury South stage two [PDF, 912 KB]

Takitimu North Link stage two [PDF, 692 KB]

It will take time to work through the next steps on the changed projects but Waka Kotahi will continue to work closely with partners, communities and potentially affected landowners on projects that are changing as we establish what this means for them.

While there are some changes to the programme, Waka Kotahi has continued to progress projects across the NZ Upgrade Programme. Construction is already underway on thirteen transport projects and an estimated 800 people are already working on 20 Waka Kotahi projects.

We’ve signed construction contracts worth about half a billion dollars and expect that to double within the next 12 months, subject to approvals and property negotiations.

Significant project development work has also been carried out on all New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects, including engaging with communities on designs and route alignments.

Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail have also completed significant work to get a better understanding of project risks, scope, costs and timeframes.

Proactive release of NZ Upgrade Programme documents

Following the changes to the NZ Upgrade Programme which were announced on 4 June 2021, the Ministers of Transport and Finance have agreed to proactively release the advice that was relied on to inform those decisions. This release includes the advice provided by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Ministry of Transport, Treasury and KiwiRail, as well as the Cabinet Paper taken to Cabinet on 31 May 2021.

Any questions in relation to this release should be directed to

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Ministry of Transport