A responsible approach to recovery and building resilient infrastructure
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council commends the New Zealand Government’s Budget commitment to advancing the nation’s infrastructure, resilience, and skills development.
The Budget emphasised immediate infrastructure investment which considers long-term resilience and climate change with $77bn earmarked for infrastructure and resilience over five years, and $6bn earmarked for cyclone recovery.
“Strategic investment across transport, energy and telecommunications as networks is welcomed with focus on both asset maintenance as well as deficits and future demand,” said Ainsley Simpson, the Council’s Chief Executive.
The new National Resilience Plan with initial funding of $6bn underpins building back better from the recent Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle and strengthening infrastructure resilience for a future of more severe and unpredictable weather events.
Ms Simpson commented, “Our infrastructure is the very foundation of resilience and must support our communities withstand the next weather events which will only increase in intensity.
“This means shifting from how we have traditionally planned, designed and constructed for gradual changes, and managing critical assets and networks to be more responsive to a changing climate.
“Resourcing the recovery through Rau Paenga, the new Crown infrastructure delivery agency, is a responsible approach to ensuring delivery is supported with the capability and priority it requires.”
The Infrastructure Action Plan responds to the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy, released late 2022. Important inclusions to be led by Te Waihanga are an infrastructure priority list, a review of the Better Business Case framework and a government approach to engagement with Iwi and Māori on infrastructure projects.
“We believe these early actions will enhance governance practices, advance broader benefits and provide economic certainty for local contractors and suppliers,” Ms Simpson said.
“The New Zealand Government’s commitment to investing in resilient infrastructure is vital to ensuring our communities can withstand and recover swiftly from future shocks and stresses. By integrating sustainability and resilience principles into infrastructure planning and design, we can build a more resilient and adaptive New Zealand for future generations.”\
The Budget extended the commitment to skills development through the Apprenticeship Boost through to the end of 2024.
“Much greater investment capability building is required to foster a skilled and knowledgeable workforce capable of delivering sustainable resilient infrastructure.
Simpson noted, “The Budget is a signal that there is urgency to address a growing skills deficit in the people that plan, design, construct, and maintain sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”
The ISC stands ready to collaborate with the New Zealand Government, infrastructure industry professionals, and other stakeholders to support the successful implementation of the Budget’s initiatives.
Simpson affirmed, “As champions of sustainable infrastructure practices, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council is committed to working closely with the Government and industry partners for effective infrastructure planning, investment and management that delivers social, cultural, environment and economic dividends across Aotearoa.”
About the Infrastructure Sustainability Council:
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) is a purpose-led not-for-profit dedicated to promoting sustainable infrastructure practices in New Zealand and Australia. The ISCouncil administers the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme, mandated by delivery agencies and asset operators with approximately over $270b government-funded large infrastructure projects assuring their sustainability performance. The ISCouncil represents more than 180 government bodies, companies, and associations with a combined annual turnover of more than $50 billion to advance inclusivity, resilience and net zero in infrastructure.
Chief Executive Officer | Infrastructure Sustainability Council