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Infrastructure Sector’s Top Issues And Priorities For The New Government

“The infrastructure sector remains hopeful that the Government can deliver on its vision for New Zealand, but quick action on strategy, planning, skills and funding commitment is required,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

Two weeks ago, Infrastructure New Zealand’s ReBuilding Nations Symposium brought together over 800 infrastructure industry leaders across two days to examine how the country can ‘Build Back Better’. In each session, polls were run with the support of Technology Sponsor Beca to gauge industry priorities and concerns.

“The clear message from the sector was that the Government must move quickly to demonstrate how it is going to achieve its priorities.

“While four out of five respondents felt somewhat or very confident that New Zealand’s leadership has a clear vision for action in our post-COVID recovery, half were not very or not at all confident that the country can deliver its infrastructure pipeline.

“Over 40% of attendees said that a lack of strategy and planning would hamper our future development. This was followed with equal concern about lack of capability, capacity, and skills and insufficient funding and financing.

“Delegates were asked if they thought our country will make the changes necessary to transform and build back better. A quarter did not think so but just over one-half still believe we can – if we get going immediately.

“Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Andrew Stevens summarised things best in noting that many of the challenges we heard over the two days of the conference could have been quotes from five years ago, that’s how little has changed,” said Glenn.

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In response, Infrastructure New Zealand today releases six Policy Priorities for addressing the challenges in our infrastructure system and accelerating the shift from talking to action:

  1. Establish a National Vision with National Strategic Outcomes
  2. Build an Infrastructure Strategy designed to achieve the outcomes
  3. Reform our planning system to align outcomes with spatial planning, funding, and governance
  4. Develop the skills and human capital needed to deliver the infrastructure pipeline
  5. Commit funding using incentives, price signals, private capital, and beneficiary pays wherever possible
  6. Revise governance to ensure organisations charged with infrastructure delivery have the scale, capacity, capability and desire to implement.

Rupert Hodson, Beca Northern Regional Manager said, “We are encouraged and excited about the opportunities ahead of us.

“This conference has highlighted that we have the policy framework largely in place and the road map to complete it; we know what the challenges are, and the government has set the aspiration to build back better.

“The challenge for us all now is to grab the opportunity, use the tools we have available and get on with doing it. We’re in this together, and we look forward to what the next few years bring,” said Hodson.

To see the entire Beca poll results on topics such as infrastructure resilience, the housing crisis, resource management, and more, click here.

To see a copy of Infrastructure New Zealand’s latest report on how the Government can integrate planning and investment to achieve its National Vision, click here.

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