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Buildability Constraints pose transport low risk

Buildability Constraints pose low risk to Auckland Transport Package

“Buildabililty” issues do not pose a major risk to implementing the Auckland element of the government’s $2.87 billion Investing for Growth Transport Package, according to a new report from the Ministry of Economic Development.

The report, released today, is a scoping study on the potential risks to implementing the “Investing for Growth” transport package announced by the government in December.

During the development of the package two potential constraints to maximising the benefit of the additional funding were identified. These were potential shortages in skills and labour and difficulties in the planning and contracting process, together known as “buildability issues”.

The MED report looks at the extent of these risks, and what could be done to mitigate them. Though these risks were not as great as first feared, the work confirmed that some risk does exist.

As a result the government is increasing its engagement with industry on skills and labour issues.

The Department of Labour is organising an industry Forum to be held in August where key industry and government stakeholders will be invited to discuss skills and labour issues with the aim of developing concrete proposals for minimising the risk.

This work builds on other government initiatives, such as Work and Incomes Straight 2 Work, pilot scheme, aimed at getting people into road construction jobs. The report recommends that government continue this work. Though the risks do not appear to be as great as first thought, the report also recommends some additional initiatives, including:

• further research into potential skills and labour shortages in the industry

• joint government-industry development of a recruitment programme, and

• ongoing engagement and increased communication with industry.

The new Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) is designed to bring an integrated, regional approach to Auckland transport planning, while amendments to regional planning documents are designed to improve the efficiency of the planning process. At the national level, Transit and Transfund are looking at ways of streamlining their planning and procurement procedures.

The Government’s review of the Resource Management Act, is similarly considering issues around improving consent decision making, ensuring greater consistency and providing greater certainty for applicants. Improvements in these areas will also assist to improve the conditions for investment and planning for increased activity in the road construction industry.

However, the report also notes that the very nature of road construction including its significant environmental impacts and reliance on factors such as weather, make it inherently difficult to plan for.

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