Infracom chair Dr Alan Bollard says there’s a big job to be done to establish the performance of infrastructure in sectors throughout the country
Infracom to focus on infrastructure outcomes
The Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga (Infracom) is kicking off work to improve New Zealand’s infrastructure and lift the country’s long-term planning and capability.
Infracom chair Dr Alan Bollard says there’s a big job to be done to establish the performance of infrastructure in sectors throughout the country – assessing their current state, resilience to emerging trends like climate change and the need for replacement.
“We really want to focus on outcomes and understand why some sectors perform better than others. We will gather information from territorial local authorities, government departments, Crown entities, state-owned enterprises and other infrastructure providers.”
Dr Bollard says while there’s keen interest in improving the country’s physical infrastructure, Infracom’s role will also be to ensure New Zealanders make the most of what is already in place. “That means we will be reviewing access and pricing regimes and regulatory settings, as well as infrastructure governance planning and delivery. New Zealand is unique in having wide rights around consenting, with big roles for tiny local authorities, let alone facing the global challenge of densification over urban spread, and support for regional economies.”
Needs assessment to be developed
Infracom will be commenting on reform of the Resource Management Act, infrastructure funding and financing, reform of three waters, the Auckland Light Rail proposal and the Urban Development Bill. It has been requested by the Government to look at the port sector and provide an independent perspective on the Upper North Island Supply Chain (UNISC) proposal, identifying any system-wide issues. It is also managing a wholesale review of the public private partnership model.
“We will be doing some deep dives into these topics, which are among a range of matters that will help inform our thinking on New Zealand’s infrastructure priorities for the next 30 years,” Dr Bollard says.
Infracom will develop an infrastructure needs assessment using research and advice from subject matter experts, while identifying desired outcomes, to be agreed by late 2020. A discussion paper will be issued for wide consultation before developing a draft strategy by early-mid 2021 and a subsequent discussion paper on the final strategy in the second half of 2021.