It has continued to be a busy and interesting time on the advocacy front. Over this past month here’s what we have been up to:
- Our Policy Advisor, Martina Moroney led our submission on the Review into the Future for Local Government’s draft report. Many thanks to the INZ members who provided invaluable feedback on our draft submission. We incorporated this into our final submission. We think there is an opportunity to explore more funding options for local government in particular. We have offered to present to the panel but the process looks like it will just use the submissions as input to the final report which is due in June. You can find out more about what our submission covered later in this edition of InfraRead.
- Policy Director, Michelle McCormick presented INZ’s oral submission on the two Resource Management replacement Bills; the Natural and Built Environment Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill to the Environment Select Committee on 1 March. This followed on from our initial briefing with the Select Committee in February. INZ’s feedback was well received, including our recommendations for improving the legislation.
- Michelle also presented INZ’s oral submissions on the Water Services Legislation Bill and the Water Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill to the Expenditure and Finance Select Committee on 2 March. It is going to be interesting to see how the water reforms progress and what changes to the model are made. The new Minister for Local Government, Hon Kieran McAnulty, recently invited mayors opposed to the proposed reforms to meet with him to discuss their concerns, particularly around the lack of tangible links between their local communities and the service providers. INZ considers that the separation of the water service entities’ balance sheets is critical to ensuring that the much needed investment in infrastructure is undertaken with appropriate oversight.
- We published an opinion piece on the Stuff news site: The private sector has to help solve our infrastructure challenge which discussed the government’s competing priorities for transport and the pressure on the National Land Transport Fund ahead of the consultation on the Government’s Policy Statement on Land Transport around May now.
- Michelle was also interviewed for an article in Farmers’ Weekly: New Thinking needed for flood rebuild.
- In partnership with INZ’s Women’s Infrastructure Network and Tonkin + Taylor we hosted an International Women’s Day event at the Hilton in early March. We were also able to make a donation of $2000 to Women’s Refuge to support women in need. Thanks to all that came along.
At last November’s Building Nations conference, 39% of respondents considered that climate change and sustainable infrastructure should be front of mind as we shape up our 2023 work programme. The extreme weather events experienced since the start of this year have only reinforced this. Currently, we are finalising a programme plan which aims to get to the heart of what is holding the sector back in terms of taking action on climate change and making tangible and consistent progress towards more sustainable infrastructure. Knowledge transfer is critical and as well as more sharing of innovations and developments which reduce carbon emissions and revolutionise infrastructure delivery. We also support further adoption of infrastructure sustainability rating tools across a wider range of infrastructure projects.
With all this in mind, we are working on a refresh of the INZ Funding and Financing working group. Following the work undertaken last year to develop and promote alternative leasing modeling, we are formalising a terms of reference. There has been a lot of interest in the work of the group and we are keen to tap into our members’ extensive knowledge and funding and financing experience. We have developed an ambitious work programme for the current year and look forward to engaging further on this.
A lot of focus has been on finalising the programme for Building Nations 2023 being held at Te Pae Conference Centre in Christchurch on 7-8 June. We will continue our efforts to stimulate debate, and focus action on the country’s infrastructure needs over the coming year. With election day set for 14 October, there will be lots of opportunity to engage with and shape the political party agendas in the coming months. We look forward to hearing members’ views and thank you for your input into our advocacy work to date.