The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission | Te Waihanga has published the draft New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy. The draft strategy’s vision is: Infrastructure lays a foundation for the people, places and businesses of Aotearoa New Zealand to thrive for generations.

The draft strategy highlights the need to improve our system for planning and building infrastructure, and also make better use of what we already have. It makes 67 recommendations to government, local government and the infrastructure sector around the following 11 topics:

      • Strengthening partnerships and opportunities for Māori
      • Enabling a net-zero carbon emission Aotearoa
      • Supporting towns and regions to flourish
      • Building attractive and inclusive cities
      • Strengthening resilience to shocks and stresses
      • Moving to a circular economy
      • Better decision-making
      • Improving funding and financing
      • An enabling planning and consenting framework
      • Accelerating technology use
      • Building workforce capacity and capability.

Most of the recommendations concern known issues and work on some is already underway, such as the reform of the resource management system, emissions reduction and a national digital strategy. Some of the recommendations that aren’t necessarily common knowledge and are worth exploring further include:

      • local government amalgamation where appropriate
      • the development and publishing of independent infrastructure priority list to build consensus around key projects and initiatives that address significant long-term problems
      • delivery of a national infrastructure skills plan to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to develop our infrastructure in the medium to long-term.

Local government will be disappointed the draft strategy does not recommend that councils should be able to retain GST revenue to fund infrastructure.

Infrastructure New Zealand has been working with the Commission and held a series of workshops around the country earlier this year allowing members to provide direct input to the draft strategy.

The draft strategy has been submitted to the Minister for Infrastructure, Hon Grant Robertson, and the strategy will be finalised following feedback from him. We understand other government departments have also been given the opportunity to provide comments and feedback on the draft strategy. The draft strategy can be viewed here.

The final strategy will be submitted to Minister Robertson in early 2022, and will then be tabled in Parliament, after which the Government will have six months to respond to the recommendations within the strategy. The strategy will be updated at least every five years. We hope the Government adopts the recommendations.