We have the election results, but are now waiting to find out the shape of the Government and the spread of ministerial responsibilities. Coalition talks are progressing but will not be finalised until the final vote counts are delivered on 3 November. It is guaranteed to be a very busy run into the Christmas and summer holiday break as the new Government will be focusing on its first 100 days and keen to demonstrate some immediate progress.

Over the past few weeks, the INZ team along with the INZ Funding and Financing working group, has been developing the main components of an INZ Briefing for the Incoming Minister (BIM). It calls for the successful delivery of infrastructure with a focus on identifying quick wins for the Government in its first 100 days in office. Some areas are also identified where further policy work will be required to change settings. Three areas for deep dives and a number of recommendations are:

  • Utilisation and improvement of the public-private partnership model to hasten delivery
  • Evolution of the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act
  • Laying the Pathway for City Deals.

Some quick wins to address the deficits in the social housing and water infrastructure sectors are also offered up. We will be targeting a meeting with the new Minister of Infrastructure as soon as possible.

The INZ team has been busy working through the rather large package of consultation materials that are currently out for feedback and preparing submissions. While we are unsure how the new Government will deal with these processes already under way, it is important we maintain a voice on the key issues affecting infrastructure. We have spoken to the MBIE energy team and prepared a high-level composite submission on the energy transition package.

We are also working on the following submissions:

  • Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons Learned – INZ has been asked to provide an early submission before public consultation, likely to commence later in November.
  • The Parliament Inquiry into Climate Adaptation.
  • DOC and MfE’s proposed Biodiversity Credit System – there has been a lot of engagement with environment interest groups but it is important the infrastructure developers’ view on this potential scheme are also considered
  • The NPS Highly Productive Land proposed amendments to enable solar energy infrastructure
  • The Proposed NPS for Natural Hazard Decision-making.

The INZ policy team was interviewed by a consultant undertaking an MBIE project looking at developing a Circular Economy and Bioeconomy (CEBE) strategy and the potential of digital twins. This drew on our recent policy position and also previous work undertaken on digitisation. We have also contributed to the Climate Change Commission’s thinking on its report back on progress under the National Adaptation Plan.

We have spent much of this month been preparing for our annual INZ Senior Leaders’ Retreat which is held annually at Millbrook, Queenstown. The two days focused on Shaping the infrastructure agenda post-election 2023 and the sector priorities, and explored opportunities to successfully deliver infrastructure.

Estimating the Cost of an Uncertain Infrastructure Pipeline

The INZ original research report, Estimating the Cost of an Uncertain Infrastructure Pipeline, which we commissioned the Infometrics team to prepare has been finalised and released during the immediate post-election lull.

The research found there was real value in having more certainty in our infrastructure pipeline. This could be achieved by streamlining delivery, with the Government committing to a more certain infrastructure pipeline, resulting in productivity and savings improvements of between 13% and 26.5% on future infrastructure projects. If applied, these savings could increase the amount spent on infrastructure delivery by between $2.3 billion and $4.6 billion a year over the 2025-31 period.

The report findings attracted immediate media interest, with Chief Executive Nick Leggett being interviewed by Mike Hoskings on his radio breakfast show and by One News, as well as articles in The NZ Herald and on Stuff. INZ is also holding Wellington and Auckland events on 14 and 15 November, featuring Brad Olsen (Chief Executive, Infometrics) presenting the report findings followed by an expert panel discussion. You can read more details on the report in this InfraRead edition.