17 October 2013
The National State of Infrastructure 2013 report released today signals good progress has been made over the past 12 months to address New Zealands infrastructure deficit and that, while challenges remain, New Zealand now has the necessary frameworks in place to identify issues and address problems, said NZ Council for Infrastructure Development CEO Stephen Selwood.
The report records progress across all infrastructure sectors, from direct Government investment in transport and telecommunications, to improved planning and regulation in our major cities, further progress with Public Private Partnerships (PPP) including the first transport PPP (Transmission Gully), and expanding the use of the Better Business Case methodology, among others.
It is also really encouraging to see the developments underway in the local government sector, especially plans for a Centre of Excellence, a range of new initiatives to deliver a stronger evidence base for Urban Water, and the innovation and improved investment analysis in the management of roads and maintenance.
However, NZCID agrees with the findings of the National Infrastructure Advisory Board that while good progress is being achieved significant challenges remain.
In particular, opportunities exist to greatly enhance alignment between the land use proposals of the notified Auckland Unitary Plan, the investments outlined in the Integrated Transport Plan and the strategic vision of the Auckland Plan.
Finding means to both fund the transport investment programme and manage transport demand in Auckland must be resolved with urgency.
In Christchurch, interagency coordination still needs to be improved and a well sequenced pipeline of projects remains a critical priority. In contrast, the rebuild of water and road infrastructure is a real highlight in Christchurch, notwithstanding questions over the standard it is being built to and who should pay.
At the national level, irrigation is progressing, but the industry needs a much broader spectrum of support if the many earmarked projects around the country are to proceed.
While there are real challenges facing authorities and industry, what must not be ignored is that these issues are now being identified, articulated and the necessary frameworks are in place to address them. Stepping back five years, there was no established, independent authority like the National Infrastructure Advisory Board or the National Infrastructure Unit in Treasury to highlight problems and no mechanism other than political direction to overcome obstacles.
Later this year, the National Infrastructure Unit will publish the long awaited ten year capital intentions plan, which will go a long way to providing the level of investment certainty required to attract foreign and domestic capital to sectors that are crying out for it.
Adding together the capital intentions plan, ongoing refinement of Aucklands Unitary Plan and the ramp up in Christchurch, we anticipate that 2014 will be a pivotal year for New Zealand infrastructure," Selwood says.