New Zealand announces $4bn infrastructure plan – and a commission to carry it out

The government of New Zealand has announced plans to invest US$4bn in the country’s infrastructure over the next five years.

Some 174 projects have already been selected by the Education Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Transport Agency, the Defence Force and the Department of Corrections.

Data from the five departments will be used to gather feedback on the infrastructure pipeline’s form and function before it is rolled out to all central government agencies, local government and the private sector.

The government also plan to launch the Te Waihanga infrastructure commission by the end of 2019. This is described as the "first step in providing the infrastructure market with better information about the timing, sequencing and scale of future credible and committed infrastructure projects".

The commission aims to "give the infrastructure market greater certainty about future infrastructure projects, to help it gear-up capacity and capability to deliver".

In the past few years, contractors have struggled to deal with the consequences of New Zealand’s construction boom, which had led to an ever tighter labour market and rapidly rising inflation, which have made costing lengthy infrastructure project particularly dangerous.

Shane Jones, New Zealand infrastructure minister, said: "By shining a light on the big capital projects expected over a five-year horizon, the pipeline will not only give industry much needed certainty but also help inform the Infrastructure Commission’s thinking as it develops a 30-year strategy to reverse New Zealand’s infrastructure deficit and maximise value for money from the government’s $27.6bn capital spending plan.

"I am all too aware of the challenge the coalition government inherited to modernise New Zealand’s infrastructure, and ensure our schools, hospitals, transport networks, and other major projects are world-class."

Image: New Zealand government buildings (Peter Sobolev/Dreamstime)

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