New commission should ensure better approach to infrastructure planning
21 February 2019
Water New Zealand has welcomed the creation of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga.
Chief Executive John Pfahlert says that there are huge challenges facing New Zealand in funding much-needed infrastructure and it is vital that it is done in the most effective and cost-effective way.
He says that upgrading three waters infrastructure water alone constitutes a huge demand on the financial resources of councils and this will inevitably impact on the Government.
“We need a co-ordinated approach to planning and procurement.”
It is estimated that the upgrades needed in wastewater infrastructure to meet the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management will be in excess of $2-billion.
“This doesn’t include discharging to the marine and coastal environments, replacing aging underground pipes, or the effects of climate change. So we’re likely to be looking at numbers well in excess of $2-billion.
As well, the cost of upgrading drinking water infrastructure to meet the key recommendations of the Havelock North inquiry has been estimated to be at least $500-m.”
“Once again, this is likely to be a conservative figure and the final tally is likely to be significantly higher.
“It is clear that there is a need for a long-term strategy, and importantly, co-ordination of infrastructure planning to ensure that we get the best upgrades across the country and that they are done in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”
He says he is pleased that the government has listened to the sector and that the new commission will have an independent board and the autonomy to provide robust, impartial advice.
“This will give the new body the credibility it needs to help ensure its success.”