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National Infrastructure Strategy ‘long Overdue’

A draft national 30-year Infrastructure Strategy has been released by the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga, setting a blueprint for the country to address its massive infrastructure deficit, improve resilience and streamline infrastructure construction.

Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock welcomed the Draft New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy, saying it provided vital vision and direction for the country’s infrastructure networks, framing challenges and solutions in a way that was ‘long overdue’.

“It seems a glaring omission for the country to have gone so long without an overarching strategy for something as important as infrastructure. Once finalised, this strategy will inform the national approach and give industry and government more clarity on the work ahead.”

Mr Silcock said the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy mapped out the challenges the country faces in terms of infrastructure construction and provision, and also recommends actions on key issues such as cost escalation, climate change and ongoing maintenance.

He said it would be interesting to see government’s response to the 67 recommendations provided in the strategy, which include improving water infrastructure pricing and provision, clearer long-term funding intentions and a clear national direction for waste management.

The strategy included estimates of the cost required to meet New Zealand’s infrastructure needs if the country was to ‘build itself out’ of trouble at around 9.6 per cent of GDP over a 30-year period, up from 5.5 per cent of GDP.

Despite this, it stopped short of recommending a major build programme straight away, suggesting a clear direction and systematic change to better pay for transport and water infrastructure was needed to sustain the levels of infrastructure construction required over the coming decades.

While a draft, the strategy sets out a proposed direction based on research and consultation. The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga is now awaiting feedback from the Minister and will consider this before refining the strategy for release early next year. Once finalised, government will respond to recommendations and advice in the strategy.

The Draft New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy is currently with the Minister for Infrastructure awaiting feedback and will be finalised in early 2022.

 

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