The National Party will turbocharge the Government’s $32.5 billion infrastructure investment by creating a new National Infrastructure Commission to lead more public-private partnership (PPP) projects and ensure Kiwis get faster access to new schools, hospitals and roading.

“National has a great track record of delivering transformative infrastructure investments, like the Roads of National Significance, the electrification of Auckland’s commuter rail network, Ultra-Fast Broadband, and the Waterview Tunnel,” National Party Infrastructure spokesperson Steven Joyce says. “We know how vital quality infrastructure is to the economy and people’s lives.

“PPPs are very effective at getting quality long-lasting infrastructure built more quickly and using private capital to stretch the country’s capital budget so we get more built,” Mr Joyce says. “The National Infrastructure Commission will be responsible for expanding the number of PPPs so we can grow our $32.5 billion investment and have more new hospitals, schools and transport projects sooner.

National will merge two units from the Treasury to form the core of the Commission, with an additional $2.5 million a year in funding to operate it.

“PPPs can provide new facilities at a lower whole of life cost than traditional development models,” Mr Joyce says. “The Commission’s job will be to make sure the innovation and savings PPPs bring are applied to all parts of government, regardless of whether the project is a major hospital development, a school or a new road.”

Initial projects to be considered as a PPP include:

  • The $50 million rebuild of Whangarei Boys High School as part of a larger school development package

  • Defence Estate Refresh: a $1.7 billion project to modernise and upgrade defence  bases throughout the country

  • The recently announced $1.4 billion re-development of Dunedin Hospital

  • East West Link: $1.9 billion project linking State Highway 20 and
    State Highway 1 in Auckland

  • Penlink: Construction of a new local road linking the middle of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula with State Highway 2 at Redvale

  • Waikeria Prison: A new 1,500 bed facility due to commence procurement this year

“The Commission will work alongside our new investment company Crown Infrastructure Partners which will jointly invest with councils and private companies in non-government owned infrastructure like local roads, water networks and the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme,” Mr Joyce says.

The Commission’s other major role will be to collate and promote New Zealand’s national and regional infrastructure pipelines to major local and international construction firms so they can further gear up to meet the country’s infrastructure demand.

“Construction companies need clear visibility of the full pipeline so they can invest in innovation and skills to gear up and meet the challenge,” Mr Joyce says. “As well as the $32.5 billion to be invested over the next four years, we need to plan further spending in the order of another $40 billion over the following four years.  

“The NIC will be a clearing place for that pipeline so the construction industry can have the confidence to keep investing and growing.

“We already have about $2 billion of PPP projects included within our $32.5 billion capital investment, including the Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth roading developments, and a number of school building projects. The new Commission will be charged with ramping the number of projects up significantly so we can extend the $32.5 billion further.

“New Zealand is growing confidently and quickly. The National Infrastructure Commission will ensure we have the capacity to maintain that growth and deliver the quality infrastructure New Zealanders need.”

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