Infrastructure Commission Independence Critical
The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission - Te Waihanga - appears to be on the right track with the levels of independence indicated in today’s announcement from Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones.
The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) has long advocated for the establishment of such a body to guide New Zealand’s critical infrastructure development over the long-term and overcome the country’s current infrastructure shortfall.
"It’s great that the Minister and the team putting the Commission together have listened to the feedback indicating independence was critical to the credibility and success of the new body," says EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.
"An independent and largely autonomous Board will be critical to providing the robust, impartial advice successive governments will need to keep major infrastructure projects on track.
"Our current system leaves long-term projects and priorities at risk when government change and priorities change with them."
The new Commission will drive a consensus on long-term infrastructure strategy, co-ordinate planning and provide advice and best practice support to these major projects across the country.
"With $42 billion scheduled to spent on infrastructure between now and 2022 it’s critical for the growth and economic well-being of business and New Zealand citizens that we get the maximum value from that level of spend. The Commission will help ensure we get that value. Members in our region continue to suffer from infrastructure shortfalls that simply aren’t keeping pace with growth and have a direct impact on their bottom lines.
Mr O’Riley stressed that it will now be critical to get the right people with the mix of skills, credibility and industry expertise into the Commission roles.
"The success or otherwise of the Commission will weigh heavily on the calibre of people on the Board.