The first cross sector infrastructure evidence base is a big step forward in increasing understanding of the state of New Zealand infrastructure, says National Infrastructure Advisory Board Chair Lindsay Crossen.
His comments follow the publication today of the Infrastructure Evidence Base, prepared by the Treasury’s National Infrastructure Unit with input from across infrastructure sectors.
“This evidence base draws together information from across the infrastructure sectors for the first time, to provide a comprehensive picture of the current state of our assets.
“And the picture is good: we have largely the right infrastructure in the right place, delivering a good quality service. Of course there are challenges ahead, but we are starting from a good position to meet these.”
Over the last year the National Infrastructure Unit has worked with stakeholders to provide a whole of New Zealand assessment, following the 2011 National Infrastructure Plan, which identified lack of available data as a major constraint.
“This evidence base is one part of the progress we are making in our ability to monitor and manage our infrastructure in New Zealand. Good asset information supports good asset management, and this is vital to meet the challenges we face.
“Demographic changes, aging assets and continuing funding constraints make it essential that we get the most from our existing assets and we make the best possible decisions regarding future investment.
“The traditional response of increasing infrastructure supply will not be enough in future, and we must get smarter at managing demand, finding alternative sources of funding, and taking advantage of new technologies to deliver services efficiently.
“There is a huge amount of investment already being made by both public and private sectors, and even more planned. We must deliver this investment in the best possible way to ensure infrastructure continues to contribute to economic growth and improving living standards for all New Zealanders.”
Mr Crossen noted that over the next year, the National Infrastructure Unit will continue its engagement with sectors to strengthen the evidence base and to consider what it means and how New Zealand might respond to the challenges it highlights.
“We are a year into development of the evidence base, and we still have some large gaps. This is a reflection of a variety of factors, and we strongly encourage sectors to consider how they can improve the availability and transparency of asset information.
“The National Infrastructure Advisory Board is eager to take the conversation with sectors forward, and look at how New Zealand can meet our infrastructure challenges.”
Mr Crossen noted the Board’s appreciation of the large number of infrastructure agencies and organisations involved in working with the National Infrastructure Unit in preparing the evidence base.
The National Infrastructure Advisory Board was established to advise the NIU and the Minister of Finance, and is made up of members from the private sector and outside central government.
The Board provides both the Minister and the NIU with advice and perspectives on infrastructure project appraisal, capital asset management issues and the development and implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan.
The current members of the Board are: Lindsay Crossen (Chair), Matthew Birch, Dr Rod Carr, Margaret Devlin, Kathryn Edmonds, Edward Guy, Dr Terence Heiler and John Rae.
Further information on the Board, including profiles of the members is available here on the NIU website.