Infrastructure Commission a step closer

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the first reading of the Bill to establish New Zealand’s Infrastructure Commission in Parliament today.

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, represents a step-change in New Zealand’s approach to infrastructure and is on track to be operational before the end of the year.

“The efficient planning, delivery and maintenance of the right infrastructure is essential to improving New Zealand’s economic performance, and our wellbeing,” Shane Jones said.

“But the single most common complaint I hear when I travel around the country – particularly in the regions – is about the quality of basic infrastructure. We need quality advice about long-term infrastructure planning to ensure we’re making the best investment decisions for the entire country.

“The Infrastructure Commission will be mandated to develop a long-term infrastructure strategy by working with central and local government as well as the private sector with a view to tackling the systemic problems the sector has been facing for many years.

The Commission will have two broad functions – strategy and planning and procurement and delivery support.  It will provide expert advice, planning and strategy, and support the delivery of major infrastructure projects across the country. It will also be a one-stop shop for investors, including publishing a pipeline of infrastructure projects.

“As an autonomous Crown Entity with an independent board, the Commission will have the credibility and influence required to effect real change. Ministers will retain final decision making rights, as is appropriate.

“The Government will be investing about $42 billion through to 2022 in net capital spending. With this level of investment, we need to take a longer-term view and make decisions that align with our priorities to build a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy and improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders,” Shane Jones said.