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Overcoming Infrastructure Challenges

 

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga has given the Minister for Infrastructure a draft strategy for how infrastructure can support a thriving New Zealand.

The draft strategy includes recommendations for a more efficient infrastructure system, identifying a range of tools for funding infrastructure, encouraging the uptake of technology, as well as actions to overcome labour challenges and improve decision making.

It also includes strategic recommendations for growing New Zealanders’ wellbeing, and addressing long-term challenges like climate change and population growth.

Recommendations include:

  • Considering congestion charging for some of Auckland’s busiest roads and the potential for getting better use of Wellington’s roads, while at the same time, funding public transport.
  • Increasing housing opportunities in areas with infrastructure access, reducing costs and increasing housing affordability.
  • Ensuring population and infrastructure planning are closely linked.
  • Consolidating multiple infrastructure capital funds.
  • Allowing for water meters to manage demand and encourage water conservation.
  • Preparing infrastructure for the impacts of climate change.
  • Helping councils to align infrastructure and planning decisions in areas where current boundaries don’t reflect where people live and work.
  • Reducing the amount of waste we create, particularly for products that can’t be recycled.
  • Increase technology use, including greater uptake of real-time data about infrastructure that can help with planning and maintenance, for instance, through digital twins.
  • Standardising planning policy across New Zealand and requiring New Zealand cities to plan for significantly more growth.
  • A material increase in funding to meet the infrastructure challenge and boost productivity, and options for ensuring that those who benefit most from infrastructure pay a fair share.
  • Streamline consenting processes, particularly for infrastructure that helps meet national objectives like a zero-carbon economy, and reduce the regulatory burden on construction materials.

Next steps

While a draft, the strategy sets out a proposed direction based on research and consultation. Te Waihanga is now awaiting feedback from the Minister and will consider this before refining the strategy for release early next year. Once finalised, it will be up to the government to respond to the recommendations and advice in the strategy.

In preparing the draft strategy, Te Waihanga has met with stakeholders and held public consultation. More than 20,000 New Zealanders also shared their views on infrastructure issues through its Aotearoa 2050 survey. The strategy is a living document, and Te Waihanga will update it every five years.

Read the Draft New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy