Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 19/6/24

More money flows through the infrastructure pipeline – and Public Works Act changes aim to hasten the flow

Infrastructure is big deal in the Beehive news agenda today.

The government is making it easier to build infrastructure by modernising the Public Works Act.

And it is braying about the billions of dollars being pumped through something called the National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national “view” of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools

To cap things off for infrastructure buffs, the NZ Transport Agency has signed interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance.

Construction of the new highway is anticipated to begin in late 2025 and be completed in 2029.

The workers will be cheered by news Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden – addressing the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference – said New Zealanders expect and deserve their family members to return home safe and healthy at the end of each and every workday.

She further said businesses deserve clear work health and safety legislation that is cost effective and easy to comply with.

Like everyone in this room, I want New Zealand to have the best possible health and safety system where businesses can focus on keeping workers safe without taking on unnecessary burden.

However, I’m aware that there are clear challenges in the health and safety system that need addressing.

She proceeded to air her thinking on the ways our health and safety laws should be be changed.

The PM – doing his statesmanly thing in Japan – had something to say, too

He announced the government will “enhance” New Zealand’s defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea.

The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan.

There were no dollar signs in the press statement. Enhancing our contributions, we may suppose, involves no increased government spending.

Latest from the Beehive

19 JUNE 2024

The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion.

18 JUNE 2024

The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today.

New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.

Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements…

The modernising of the Public Works Act will be done after an independent panel has undertaken an eight-week review of the Act and advises on “common sense changes” (always the best) to enable large scale public works to be built faster and cheaper.

Minister Penk expects the panel to conduct “a short and sharp review” (not necessarily always the best) and to provide expert advice on changes to enable critical infrastructure to be delivered on time and under budget.

The Act has not been substantially amended since 1988.

New Zealand currently ranks in the bottom 10 per cent of high-income countries in terms of how much infrastructure we deliver for the cost.

The independent advisory panel will be appointed by the Chief Executive of Land Information, the agency responsible for administering the Public Works Act.

The legislation giving effect to these changes will be introduced in mid-2025. The public will then have an opportunity to provide feedback during the select committee process.

The eight-week review will focus on:
  • efficiency – improving process efficiency and removing unnecessary duplication
  • effectiveness – legislation is workable, fit for purpose and realises the Crown’s ability to undertake public works
  • clarity – providing transparency for those using and affected by PWA processes
The government is armed with information already on the billions of dollars flowing through the National Infrastructure Pipeline into new projects.

The total value of projects within the pipeline has increased 11.7 per cent since the end of last year. Data from the Infrastructure Commission shows that across central government, local government and the private sector there are around $44 billion of projects currently under construction.

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission’s projections estimate a total of $12.1 billion to be spent in 2024, and based on current information, at least $11.6 billion is projected for 2025.

Almost 70 per cent of the projects in the pipeline reflect projects that have a funding source confirmed.

Produced by the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, the pipeline includes information on current, planned, and anticipated infrastructure projects and programmes to maintain, renew, and improve the infrastructure we all rely on. Projects are submitted by organisations across central government, local councils and the private sector.

Along with the record infrastructure investment announced in Budget 2024, government efforts to streamline consenting pathways by reforming the Resource Management Act will help build and maintain the quality infrastructure New Zealanders need, Chris Bishop said.

“A priority is the development of a 30-year National Infrastructure Plan for New Zealand. I have asked the Infrastructure Commission to lead this. Insights from the pipeline will serve as an important part of developing the infrastructure plan. I encourage all infrastructure providers to participate in the Pipeline process and contribute and maintain the information on their projects and investment intentions.”

The National Infrastructure Pipeline can be found on the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission’s website.

Key points in the Pipeline:
  • $121.2 billion total project value as at March 31 (up 11.7 per cent from December 2023)
  • 1356 projects greater than $10 million
  • 82 contributing organisations, including 37 councils that represents around three-quarters of all rates revenue collected
  • New Zealand Infrastructure Commission projections show a spend of $12.1 billion in 2024 and $11.6 billion in 2025. Three-quarters of all projected spend occurs within 3.5 years.
Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

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