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Infrastructure Commission needed now

Infrastructure Commission needed now

National’s plan to establish a National Infrastructure Commission is what’s needed now to help jump start the infrastructure pipeline, National’s spokesperson for Infrastructure Jami-Lee Ross says.

“As industry leaders gather at the Infrastructure New Zealand Symposium in Auckland, the Government needs to show how it can provide certainty and value for infrastructure projects.

“To help ensure that certainty I am calling on Infrastructure Minister Share Jones to immediately adopt National’s 2017 policy of establishing a National Infrastructure Commission to put in place an infrastructure strategy and expand the use of public-private-partnerships. The idea is there, the Government just needs to pick it up.

“The current Government is overlooking a slowdown in infrastructure construction and low confidence in the sector as it switches the national priority from road building to public transport and rules out using private money for a range of major projects.

“This has led to comments from industry leaders like Aecom which has said the sector ‘doesn't know for sure what is going to be done and when’ and comes at the same time as a softening of expectations around infrastructure across New Zealand.

“Under National’s plan, the National Infrastructure Commission would work across all of government and connect key projects to the funding that will help deliver these projects to our communities.

“We know that PPPs can help deliver better value for investment when they are used and lower the whole of life cost of projects.

“By opening the door to PPPs we would allow our infrastructure spending to be turbocharged and deliver many more vital projects like new schools, hospitals and roads than is currently planned.

“We would have asked the Commission to explore options to fund major investments which we had committed to like the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, school redevelopments and new corrections facilities.

“All of these are in limbo with the Government saying it is strapped for cash and yet they are ruling out using PPPs to make sure we can get these projects built.

“The Government’s ideological opposition to using PPPs for projects is leading to projects being deferred or simply not put on the agenda and that is harming our communities who need them and causing a slowdown in our infrastructure sector.

“It’s an easy and achievable step to adopt National’s Infrastructure Commission to help deliver projects to New Zealanders.”

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