National Party’s announcement today that, if elected, it will set up an
independent National Infrastructure Commission should have cross party
support," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen
such a body will bring New Zealand’s infrastructure practices up to speed with
Australia, the UK, Canada and other leading countries.
"The UK’s National
Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to provide independent,
strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term
"A New Zealand
infrastructure commission needs to be charged with equivalent responsibility.
This would include investigating and recommending responses to our most
pressing issues in housing, freshwater quality and congestion, in addition to
oversight of project delivery, procurement, and the national infrastructure
"The size of the
infrastructure workload ahead means we have to make the most of every dollar
spent. Having a public entity working in New Zealand's best interests and with
expertise in project delivery is critical.
announcement today is focussed on leveraging private sector capital and
expertise through Public Private Partnerships.
"PPPs are an
important component of any rational infrastructure delivery programme, but the
Commission needs to encompass all forms of project delivery, regardless of
whether or not private capital is involved.
surveys by Infrastructure NZ and other evidence shows that New Zealand’s infrastructure
procurement can significantly be improved and international experience shows
there are billions of dollars of benefit from doing so.
"Having our best
and most experienced people involved when the Government buys large and complex
assets like motorways, railways, schools, and hospitals minimises the risk of
mistakes and capitalises on the investment opportunity.
"It’s not only
individual projects which will benefit from a new body. A clear and committed
national infrastructure pipeline has for many years been an industry priority.
Businesses who deliver assets on behalf of governments need to know what’s
ahead and if the Commission can provide greater certainty around this it will
make a big difference to investment and productivity in the sector.
"These are the
reasons why Canada, through Partnerships BC and Infrastructure Ontario, the UK,
through the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Scottish Futures Trust,
and Australia through Infrastructure NSW and Major Projects Victoria have all
picked up the model.
"Some of the
greatest benefits could be realised from using the Commission to assist local
government with its $50 billion infrastructure programme. Bundling council
projects and supporting our smallest infrastructure providers with specialist
knowledge will reduce project overruns and help provide better services at
lower cost to ratepayers.
Commission to be successful, it will need arm’s length independence from the
Government, like the Commerce Commission or Reserve Bank, to ensure that it
acts apolitically in New Zealand’s long term interests.
infrastructure body is a really positive step forward for New Zealand. It is a
bi-partisan response to New Zealand’s infrastructure needs and should receive
cross-party support," Selwood says.
For further information and comment contact
Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209