Sir Brian Elwood, chair of the Waterview Connection Procurement Steering Group's opening comments to an initial meeting with Council representatives in Auckland on Tuesday, 4 March 2008.
We have invited you to meet us today to open an avenue for the Councils of Auckland to communicate with us about how you consider the Waterview Connection might best be procured.
All of us face a unique opportunity, not just in relation to Waterview but over the longer term, in considering how best to procure the construction and/or management of large scale infrastructure projects.
The government has made a major policy decision to consider this question specifically in relation to Waterview and has established a Steering Group, assisted by a Working Group, to report to it by 30 June next on the viability of procuring the Waterview Connection as a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).
The PPP approach is to be measured against a public sector comparator, with a focus on value for money.
What is unique about all this, and a major departure from precedent, is that the Steering Group consisting of members from the public and private sectors are being asked to provide advice on the procurement of a major public infrastructure project which would normally be the prerogative of the sponsoring public agency, in this case Transit.
Although Transit is not formally represented on either the Steering or Working groups, it will be closely associated with the work of both groups.
Likewise, given the significance of the Waterview project to the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the Auckland region, both groups wish to give your councils the opportunity of input to their work.
Both groups wish to hear from the councils, collectively or individually, your views on a specific PPP for Waterview within a specific and tight time-frame of 2015 for project completion.
A copy of the terms of reference has been made available and any submissions will need to have regard to those.
In the time available we do not intend to hold ‘public’ meetings, but will invite written submissions.
Whether or not, and in what form, the Waterview project proceeds is not for the Steering Group to determine. That decision will rest with the government and its agencies, including Transit New Zealand (Transit).
Transit has, however, commenced a process of public consultation on its preferred option for Waterview; namely the underground or tunnel solution, for connecting Mount Roskill to the North-Western Motorway at Waterview.
The Steering Group report will however be considered relevant in the making of the final decision for the procurement of the Waterview Connection.
There are some important assumptions which will be guiding the Steering Group’s report:
- Any recommendations will be developed under existing legislation, including the Land Transport Management Act Amendment Bill currently before the house
- Decisions on funding and the final form of the project will be made outside of this investigation by the government and its relevant agencies.
- The investigation will take into account work already undertaken by Transit on the preferred design options and alignment; and economic assessments, including cost-benefit analysis.
That said, the steering group would appreciate receiving submissions on;
- Would the councils support using the PPP model, if it could be seen to provide value for money, for constructing and/or managing the Waterview Connection Project?
- If a decision was to be made to procure the project by way of a PPP, what should the preferred nature and scope of the PPP be?
- Is there considered to be the physical and human resources available in New Zealand, with or without international support, to undertake such a large project in a competitive/contestable environment?
- What might be the role of tolling for Waterview, if any; for example, as a long-term demand management tool to maintain desired traffic flows?
A call for written submissions on these and any other matters of relevance to the Steering Groups terms of reference will shortly be made with a closing date for submissions of 11 April 2008.
Web sites are accessible for more information about the project at:
The project email address is: email@example.com.
Sir Brian Elwood
Chair, Waterview Connection Procurement Steering Group