NZ: Proposed Reform of Infrastructure System Essential

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New Zealand has a clear choice – more drift in how it funds and builds its infrastructure – or significant reform to improve efficiency and ensure adequate funding over time to maintain our assets.

That is the clear message from Infrastructure New Zealand today as it backs the contents of Minister Chris Bishop’s speech to Local Government New Zealand.

“New Zealand’s spending per capita on infrastructure is high compared to other OECD nations but the value we get from that investment is in the bottom 10%. That has to be turned around,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Policy Director Michelle McCormick.

The Infrastructure Minister’s proposition is bold and necessary, and it’s one all those involved in the infrastructure system must get behind.

“It’s time for a mature conversation on infrastructure, how we finance and fund it, and a fundamental reset of the relationship between central and local government.”

“People are mistaken if they think the change we need is just to build big flashy infrastructure projects. It’s actually how we build them – from planning to funding and financing, and how we incorporate maintenance and renewals across the life of the asset. Change is needed across the whole system.”

Infrastructure New Zealand also emphasises that ‘root and branch’ reform is needed of the client side of infrastructure delivery, including both central and local government.

“There is little coherency in current system planning and ultimate responsibility taken for infrastructure stewardship,” says McCormick. “We are pleased to see the Minister is addressing this through a whole of system response.”

“New Zealand has grown and will continue to grow, and infrastructure must be improved to support that growth and enable further progress towards the social, economic and environmental outcomes we want to achieve.”

Infrastructure New Zealand will support the Minister’s agenda with practical solutions and is already working with industry and the Government to refine funding, financing and procurement models.

“We also want to see a focus by Government on asset recycling, which can unlock capital from existing public assets to build more public assets,” says McCormick.

Infrastructure New Zealand is Aotearoa’s peak membership organisation for the infrastructure sector. We promote best practice in national infrastructure development through research, advocacy, and public and private sector collaboration. We promote public and media discussion on issues of importance to the infrastructure sector. Our membership is comprised of around 140 organisations, including government agencies, consultants, contractors, financiers, utilities, and academics. These organisations employ approximately 150,000 people in infrastructure-related roles and are united in their commitment to creating a better New Zealand through outstanding infrastructure.

Source: Infrastructure New Zealand

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