Transport in New Zealand, with its mountainous topography and a relatively small population mostly located near its long coastline, has always faced many challenges. Before Europeans arrived, Maori either walked or used watercraft on rivers or along the coasts. Later on, European shipping and railways revolutionised the way of transporting goods and people, before being themselves overtaken by road and air, which are nowadays the dominant forms of transport. However, bulk freight still continues to be transported by coastal shipping and by rail transport, and there are attempts to (re)introduce public transport as a major transport mode in the larger population centres.
Historically very car-dependent, as of 2010, transport funding in New Zealand is still heavily dominated by money for road projects-the National government proposes to spend $21 billion on roading infrastructure after 2012, yet only $0.7 billion on other transport projects (public transport, walking and cycling). This has been criticised by opponents of the current government strategy as irresponsible, in light of increasing fuel prices and congestion. Government has claimed that their priority on roads is in line with New Zealanders' favoured travel modes, and as being the most promising in terms of economic benefits.