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The Transport Agency has a legal obligation to audit organisations that are funded through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP). The audits typically take place on a cycle of two to four years. The Transport Agency’s state highways and Auckland Transport are exceptions – they account for over half of the land transport programme and are audited annually. The audit programme includes investment audits and benefit realisation reviews (formerly post-implementation reviews). In selecting the approved organisations and the Transport Agency (state highways) to be audited, three risk factors are considered:

  1. known issues/risks
  2. levels of funding
  3. length of time since the previous audit.


The Land Transport Management Act 2003 (external link), section 95 (external link)(1)(e)(ii) requires the the Transport Agency to audit the performance of approved organisations in relation to activities approved by the Transport Agency.

Audit programme

The audit programme is published in May for the upcoming NLTP year, which starts in July. The approved organisations and Transport Agency (state highways) selected for auditing are contacted approximately one month before the commencement of an audit. The audit programme lists the approved organisations and the Transport Agency (state highways), the Transport Agency intends to audit, gives details of the type of audit to be completed and the quarter of the year when the audit will take place.

The investment audit programme is published each year as a general circular(external link).

The audit process

Each approved organisation and the Transport Agency (state highways) included in the programme will receive a letter confirming the details of the audit and requesting that they prepare some information for the auditor.

An entry meeting is held to explain the audit process and establish relevant contacts with key staff.

The audit is carried out and then, at its conclusion, an exit discussion is held with key staff. Any issues are raised at this time to ensure there are no surprises in the final report.

Before the audit report is finalised, it is sent to the approved organisation for comment. The comments are considered and some text of the report may be changed as a result. The comments are appended to the report in full. A final report is issued after the Transport Agency has given its  approval.

Recommendations resulting from the audit are followed up to confirm implementation. Where necessary any over-claimed expenditure is recovered from the approved organisation or Transport Agency (state highways).

The audit - what we do

Investment audits focus on ensuring approved organisations and the Transport Agency (state highways) comply with the Transport Agency's requirements in accordance with this Planning and Investment Knowledge Base, the Procurement manual and various general circulars that have been issued to approved organisations and the Transport Agency (state highways).

The audits include:

  • assessing whether the value for money objectives are being achieved
  • reviewing documentation/ledgers supporting final claims submitted to the Transport Agency
  • reviewing and validating a sample of transactions included in the general ledger
  • checking a sample of contracts to ensure they have been let in accordance with approved procurement procedures
  • looking at management of the contracts subsequent to them being let, including both financial and non-financial aspvalidating annual achievement reports submitted to the Transport Agency.
  • Public transport audits

    For approved organisations managing public transport programmes, there are additional areas of interest as follows:

    • validating patronage funding claims
    • the operation of the SuperGold scheme
    • the management of the Total Mobility scheme
    • public transport infrastructure maintenance and development
    • road safety promotion.
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  • Technical aspects

    The Transport Agency reviews, on average every 7–10 years, technical aspects of programmes developed by approved organisations and the Transport Agency (state highways). Where possible, these reviews take place as part of the investment audits to enable a full picture at a certain point in time.

    The technical aspects considered include:

    • asset management planning processes and documents
    • data quality
    • programme management
    • safety systems.

    A network inspection is carried out as part of the review.

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Questions frequently asked during audits