Infrastructure NZ report highlights opportunities to streamline infrastructure decision making

08 Jun 2017 3:30 PM | Anonymous

MEDIA RELEASE

"New Zealand can make best use of the Government's $32 billion infrastructure commitment over the next four years by streamlining plans and institutions, including specialist procurement, environment and water regulation agencies and a top down national spatial planning framework," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.   

The findings are set out in an Infrastructure NZ report released today which follows a delegation to Scotland in March this year.

"Over the last two decades, the Scottish have completely transformed infrastructure planning, funding and delivery. 

"They've established innovative and effective institutions at the national level which support and guide central and local government infrastructure delivery. 

"The UK National Infrastructure Commission, Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Scottish Water are all bodies which could be employed here to rationalise and improve infrastructure planning, funding and delivery.

"Initiatives based on Scotland’s National Planning Framework and hub, City Deal, tax increment financing and Growth Accelerator programmes would each help align central and local decision making and enhance collaboration with the private sector.

"The Scottish system is simpler, more transparent and reduces conflicts of interest across the public sector. 

"The extensive infrastructure investment that New Zealand is planning over the coming years will need to be well-managed if we are to tackle the growth challenge. The best elements of Scotland's decision making system are worth replicating," Selwood says.  

 The key findings for New Zealand set out in the report are:

  • We could improve public understanding of infrastructure challenges and better support national investment by establishing an empowered national body charged with identifying infrastructure needs.
  • Scotland's plan-led approach gives greater certainty and better balances strategic priorities with local interests than New Zealand's effects-based RMA system.
  • We could save money and improve infrastructure performance by establishing an independent centre of expertise for project procurement, integration and public private partnerships.
  • A specialist central agency could work in partnership with local government to consolidate procurement and provide immediate and substantial benefits for water and tourism infrastructure.
  • Public and environmental health could both be improved across New Zealand by consolidating wastewater and water supply delivery at a regional level.
  • Auckland’s Watercare could be sold to fund Auckland growth with minimal impact on the cost of services and improved strategic capability.
  • Dedicated independent regulators are more informed and take an outcomes-focused strategic view of the sector which results in better services.
  • Local government can be incentivised to align investment priorities with national outcomes by using the UK City Deal approach.

 A full copy of the report can be accessed here.

ENDS

For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209


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