The National Infrastructure Advisory Board has announced the release of an updated stock-take of New Zealand's infrastructure ahead of next week's National Infrastructure Forum.
The Evidence Base, prepared by the Treasury's National Infrastructure Unit, builds on the first cross-sector account of the nation's infrastructure released last year.
The updated infrastructure Evidence Base provides a strong foundation for the development of the 2015 New Zealand Infrastructure Plan, with broad agreement amongst stakeholders on the state of our infrastructure and challenges ahead, says National Infrastructure Advisory Board Chair Lindsay Crossen.
"The 2014 Evidence Base was a crucial first step to increasing understanding of the state of New Zealand's infrastructure. Building consensus around available information on the state of our infrastructure allows us to focus collectively on a shared response to the challenges ahead.
"Having a clear overview also enables us to think holistically about how well infrastructure supports a prosperous and inclusive New Zealand, and sustained economic growth over the long-run."
This latest update captures developments over the last twelve months across all sectors and further refines the ten-year Capital Intentions Plan, which provides a pipeline view of forthcoming capital projects across central and local government and parts of the private sector.
"Some of our sectors have seen significant changes over the last year, both in terms of the precise challenges they face and also the evidence available. The urban water sector, for example, has seen a number of important processes conclude which have opened up new data and further clarified the issues we need to tackle."
Mr Crossen also highlighted the nature of the challenges that lie ahead.
"Broadly, this updated Evidence Base reinforces the messages of last year's publication; New Zealand has the right infrastructure, in the right place, providing the right quality of service. Nevertheless, there are a number of challenges ahead and traditional systems will not be sufficient to meet these; we will need to develop a more sophisticated approach to infrastructure management.
"Population and demographic shifts are changing the demands placed on our assets, technological developments create uncertainties as well as opportunities, and we face longer-term adaptation and resilience challenges. Underpinning all of this is a real need to better understand future levels-of-service requirements, especially given that future services may need a different asset mix with different funding needs.
"Tackling these challenges will require innovative ways of thinking, including better use of data in decision-making, closer alignment with financial planning, new approaches like ‘demand management,' regional and inter-agency collaboration, more integrated planning regulation, and a greater focus on resilience."
The Board Chair affirmed that the 2015 New Zealand Infrastructure Plan will be published later this year, which will describe how New Zealand can collectively respond to the infrastructure challenges we face.
"It will define the future vision of our infrastructure and provide a strategic framework and action plan to achieve our goals. Having the most up-to-date evidence, and consensus from across the infrastructure community, is key to informing this.
"We are very much looking forward to working closely with our infrastructure partners over the course of the next few months to deliver this key piece of work. We will be holding the New Zealand Infrastructure Forum between 31 March and 1 April in Wellington followed by a series of regional workshops. It is really important that we engage with the infrastructure community to build consensus around the solutions to our future challenges."
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, Margaret Devlin, Kathryn Edmonds, Edward Guy, Carl Hansen, Dr Terence Heiler and John Rae.
Further information on the Board, including profiles of the members is available here on the NIU website.