Infrastructure / Construction

The second National Infrastructure Plan was released on 4 July 2011. Prepared by the National Infrastructure Unit, the Plan records its vision that, by 2030, New Zealand's infrastructure will be resilient and coordinated and contributing to economic growth and increased quality of life.

The Plan states that the Government seeks two key outcomes:

  • better use of the $115 billion of existing infrastructure assets; and
  • prioritisation of economic growth in the allocation of funds for new infrastructure.

The Plan assesses the current state of five key infrastructure sectors against six "guiding principles" or aspirations. The assessment indicates that most sectors are preforming relatively well, with the Transport sector described as "well developed and able to meet current demands". The Water sector is shown as performing the least successfully.

Water

In regard to Urban Water Infrastructure the Plan recognises that local government is well placed to make decisions on its delivery of water services, but in doing so is required to balance a range of competing demands and interests. This results in a range of different approaches. Funding is considered a key challenge, in particular whether there are sufficient resources in each local authority area to meet the cost of deferred maintenance on aging assets. The Plan recognises that communities in need of improved reticulated systems are often the least able to afford it.

Goals & Work Programmes

The Plan also sets out the goals and the government's current work programme for each sector. In relation to Urban Water Infrastructure for example, a goal is for central and local government to work and plan collaboratively to better align national interests with local funding and accountability. The current work programme includes the Fresh Start for Fresh Water programme, which furthers the work undertaken by the Land and Water Forum.

In addition to the current work programme, the Plan identifies a three year "Action Plan", which is intended to give effect to the guiding principles. Activities and progress will be reported at www.infrastructure.govt.nz/.

Comment

Although the Plan is "directional but not directive", it provides an interesting summary of the current operation of, and challenges facing, the key infrastructure sectors and an overview of the government's goals for a strategic approach to infrastructure that should result in a rise in economic growth, productivity, and living standards.

A copy of the Plan is available at www.infrastructure.govt.nz/plan/2011.

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The contents of this publication are general in nature and are not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice on a specific matter. In the absence of such advice no responsibility is accepted by Brookfields for reliance on any of the information provided in this publication.

 

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