jobs are the priority for the May budget, but post budget the Government
must accelerate discussions on the long-term vision,
principles and larger investments required to transform the country into the new New
Zealand,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.
“There are three horizons
for government’s response to COVID-19: the first horizon emergency measures to maintain the economy and jobs is nearing an end as we come out of lockdown.
“The second horizon is about short-term stimulus to restart the economy.
“The third horizon of work
offers a once-in-a-generation
chance to transform New Zealand and steer our country’s
direction for decades to come.
“Interviews with senior
leaders of Infrastructure
NZ member organisations, our young leaders Emerging Talent Network, and
feedback from thousands of our webinar attendees have consistently called for this
crisis to be turned into an opportunity to lift our vision and reset
our strategic thinking.
“The competing ideas about which sectors, regions
matter most for New Zealand is an incredibly important debate, however the May budget doesn’t have
time to address the complexities of this third horizon and should focus on no-regrets stimulus spending.
“The second horizon programme could
from tree planting to installing home insulation. It also will include a long
list of essential public works necessary to sustain the
economy and promote local, regional and
“Infrastructure New Zealand
offers several guidelines
for the selection of horizon two, shovel-worthy projects:
- Maintain and upgrade – maintenance contracts
tend to be more labour intensive, less complex, and more easily
apportioned into smaller pieces so companies of all sizes can
- Invest in no-regrets sectors – some long-term
needs won’t change in a post-COVID-19 future (e.g., clean water,
healthy homes, safe hospitals);
- Roll projects quickly into programmes – dozens of
disconnected projects could unhelpfully compete for labour and
supplies. Coherent programmes of work will be more efficient and achieve
better value-for-money and outcomes;
- Choose proven delivery models and
partners – collaborative techniques (e.g., alliances, early
contractor involvement) between trusted partners are ideal for managing
risk while moving fast;
- Embrace social procurement – supporting local
businesses, apprenticeships, and all parts of our communities can
ensure our investments generate wider benefits, even in the
- Leverage local government – every $1 of extra
revenue that the Crown gives to a council can be matched with $2.50 of
borrowing, putting $3.50 to work in the economy. Local government should
be a key partner to the Crown in fiscal stimulus, but Crown must provide
funding to enable the Urban Growth Partnerships promised in its Urban
“These guidelines will ensure that our shovel-ready work is appropriate
and does not hinder our future long-term investments.
“To enable this rapid work, we will need crucial interim reforms to the RMA,
Building Act, and government procurement processes, as well as longer-term
comprehensive changes to ensure that we are enabling recovery and innovation in the third horizon and not
“While the immediate work proceeds, we must be
planning investment for
the all-important third horizon.
“We need to rapidly design,
consent, and procure a suite of future-focused projects that meet the needs of a future
projects should not only grow our economy, but also
support our country’s long-term health, safety, and cohesiveness.
“We also need to find ways to increase private investment for public benefit, just
like the Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative so
successfully did in the wake of the Global
“For better or worse, our country has no shortage of no-regrets projects due to
long-standing infrastructure under investment,
such as for three waters and affordable and
“We need to have a shared
vision on what the new New Zealand looks like. But between now and then, we can
get going quickly on the no-regrets projects that we all stand behind,” says
For further information and
comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436