Letter from INZ to Incoming Prime Minister: Getting New Zealand’s Infrastructure Back on Track

November 10, 2023

Kia ora tātou, tēnā koutou

As we all wait for the final form of the new government, Infrastructure New Zealand (INZ) Chair Tracey Ryan and I have taken the opportunity to write to the new Prime Minister elect, Christopher Luxon, to alert him to the urgency that is needed to address New Zealand’s infrastructure issues.

We are proposing that INZ partners with the new government to co-host an Uplift New Zealand Forum to be held prior to Christmas. This Forum would demonstrate a public commitment to faster and better delivery of infrastructure projects. The purpose of the event would be to name and frame the key issues that can be dealt with at pace, while setting a medium-to-long term timeline for the changes and improvements required.

Drawing on the discussions from our recent Millbrook Senior Infrastructure Leaders’ Retreat, INZ has also made the following recommendations:

  • We recommend a careful examination of the public sector infrastructure advisory and delivery eco-system in the first 100 days. Speeding up the process, avoiding siloes and injecting independence into the system will be key.
  • We recommend elevating the wider economic and social benefits delivered by such projects at the business case stage.
  • We recommend the government draws on funding beyond its own balance sheet to deliver projects, and better utilises the market to drive efficiency and productivity so New Zealanders receive value for money.
  • We recommend faster consenting for renewable energy infrastructure, including on-shore and off-shore wind generation as well as solar energy infrastructure.
  • We recommend a “system reboot” for local government, and the way central government relates to it.
  • We recommend the government continue with a modified reform program as set out broadly in the Affordable Water Act 2023.

INZ has let the new government know that we have expertise within our membership involved in infrastructure planning, funding, procurement, construction, and asset management who are keen to assist and provide advice. You can read the full letter here.

INZ and its members want to partner with the government to make some serious progress in addressing the country’s $200b plus infrastructure deficit. To do this, the government will need to draw on funding beyond its own balance sheet, and better utilises the market to drive efficiency and productivity so New Zealanders receive value for money.

INZ strongly believes that PPPs needs to be part of the mix of solutions. As a sector, it is vital that we demonstrate we have learnt the lesson form some past applications as well as looking to incorporate some of the new successful international procurement techniques. I got an opportunity to voice support for PPPs in an interview with Heather Du Plessius-Allan recently. You can listen to this here.

Ngā mihi nui

Nick Leggett 

Chief Executive