National Travel Assistance

Find out how the National Travel Assistance scheme supports eligible people who need to travel long distances or travel frequently for specialist treatment.


What is National Travel Assistance

The National Travel Assistance Scheme helps people who need to travel long distances or travel frequently. You need to be referred by your specialist to see another specialist. The specialists must both be part of a government-funded health and disability service.

The Scheme is administered by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora who uses the NTA policy to guide their decision-making according to the eligibility criteria.

The policy on which the scheme is based is the National Travel Assistance (NTA) Policy 2005.


Who can get travel assistance

You may be eligible for the National Travel Assistance Scheme if all of these apply.

  • You have been referred to the specialist you are going to see by another specialist (not a GP).
  • Both specialists are publicly funded. This means they are part of a government-funded health and disability service — for example, a renal dialysis centre or a specialist disability service.
  • You can answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions in the checklist below.

National Travel Assistance questionnaire

  1. Do you travel more than:
    • 80km one way per visit (for a child)?
    • 350km one way per visit (for an adult)?
  2. Do you visit a specialist at least 22 times in 2 months?
  3. Do you visit a specialist at least 6 times in 6 months, and travel more than:
    • 25km one way per visit (for a child)?
    • 50km one way per visit (for an adult)?
  4. Are you a Community Services Card holder and travel more than:
    • 25km one way per visit (for a child)?
    • 80km one way per visit (for an adult)?

Who can not get travel assistance

You may not be eligible for assistance under the National Travel Assistance Scheme if you receive or are eligible for travel assistance from another provider, such as:

  • ACC
  • Work and income
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Ministry of Transport
  • Ministry of Education.

What travel assistance covers

Travel costs

Assistance with travel costs may cover:

  • private vehicles
  • public transport
  • specialised transport needs — for example, taxi, mobility taxi or air travel.

The mileage is calculated by the shortest practical route from your residential address to the facility or hospital treating department.

Accommodation costs

Accommodation costs may include payments towards:

  • the cost of a motel room
  • allowance when staying with family and friends.

Accommodation is not usually approved for travel less than 100km one way.

Support person’s costs

You may be able to claim assistance towards a support person's costs. This is when the specialist recommends you have a support person to assist you with clinical decision-making or provide physical support.

When a child is eligible for travel and accommodation assistance, they are automatically eligible for assistance towards a support person's costs.

Specialist approval

Your specialist may need to approve claims for some of these costs (for example, accommodation, support person and specialist transport).


How to claim travel assistance

Get registered

  1. Your hospital travel coordinator, health or disability specialist, or nominated social worker will need to help you register for travel assistance. They will send the completed registration form to Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora.
  2. Health New Zealand will assess your application.
  3. If you are eligible, a confirmation letter and blank claim forms will be sent to your mailing address.

File a claim

  1. Complete each claim form.
  2. Get it signed and stamped by the facility or hospital. You can also attach a signed and stamped proof of attendance. This can be a hospital appointment discharge card, letter or note, on hospital letterhead paper.
  3. Attach your receipts. They must be original and itemised.
  4. When you make your first claim, attach a deposit slip, the top of your bank statement, or account verification from your bank. If your bank account details change at any time, repeat this with your new bank account details.
  5. For some claims, we ask you to wait until the minimum number of visits has been attended before submitting your first claim. 
  6. You must put in a claim for travel assistance within 12 months of the date of the appointment.
  7. Send completed forms to:
    National Travel Assistance Sector Operations Health New Zealand
    PO Box 1026
    Wellington 6140.
    or
    email: claimsmanagement@health.govt.nz

Any personal information you provide when registering or making a claim for travel assistance will be held securely by Health New Zealand. This will be kept confidential, except for any disclosure that may be required by law.

You have the right to access your information and can request that it be corrected at any time.