A new independent infrastructure body, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission - Te Waihanga, is being established to ensure that New Zealand gets the quality infrastructure investment needed to improve our long-term economic performance and social wellbeing.
On 14 April 2019, the Construction Accord between the Government and the Construction Industry was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and Minister for Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa. This follows the first reading in Parliament of the Bill to establish New Zealand’s Infrastructure Commission, one of the key initiatives of the Accord. Submissions on the Bill are open until 17 May 2019 (the Bill is available online).
In February 2019 the Government announced the form, functions and name of the new body, following Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones’ August 2018 announcement of the Government’s intention to create the new body.
It will be an autonomous Crown entity with an independent board of between five and seven members, to bring a range of perspectives, including private sector expertise.
Working with central and local government, the private sector and other stakeholders, it will develop a 30-year infrastructure strategy.
It will also have procurement and delivery support functions. In advance of it being established, the Infrastructure Transactions Unit has been established within the Treasury, to provide support to agencies and local authorities in planning and delivering major infrastructure projects. It will move into the Commission once it is established.
Legislation establishing the Commission is expected to be introduced in April, and it will be operational later this year.
To ensure a smooth transition when the new Commission comes into operation, the government is starting the process to identify the Chair and board of the Commission immediately.
A panel of private and public sector experts is guiding Treasury as it shapes advice on key issues, and support Treasury in the delivery of the project. All the panel members have standing and expertise in the infrastructure sector.
Te Waihanga means a cornerstone, or to make, create, develop, build, construct, generate. Te Waihanga therefore indicates how significant the Commission will be in shaping New Zealand’s future infrastructure planning and investment.