Infrastructure NZ has brought back a long list of lessons from Scotland on streamlining processes and introducing a national spatial planning framework.
A delegation from the New Zealand organisation visited Scotland in March and issued its report last week.
Infrastructure NZ chief executive Stephen Selwood said: “New Zealand can make best use of the Government’s $32 billion infrastructure commitment over the next 4 years by streamlining plans & institutions, including specialist procurement, environment & water regulation agencies, and a top-down national spatial planning framework.
“Over the last 2 decades, the Scottish have completely transformed infrastructure planning, funding & delivery. They’ve established innovative & effective institutions at the national level which support & guide central & local government infrastructure delivery.
“The UK National Infrastructure Commission, Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Scottish Water are all bodies which could be employed here to rationalise & improve infrastructure planning, funding & delivery.
“Initiatives based on Scotland’s national planning framework & hub, City Deal, tax increment financing & growth accelerator programmes would each help align central & local decision-making and enhance collaboration with the private sector.
“The Scottish system is simpler, more transparent and reduces conflicts of interest across the public sector.
“The extensive infrastructure investment that New Zealand is planning over the coming years will need to be well managed if we are to tackle the growth challenge. The best elements of Scotland’s decision-making system are worth replicating.”
The key findings for New Zealand set out in the report are:
- We could improve public understanding of infrastructure challenges and better support national investment by establishing an empowered national body charged with identifying infrastructure needs
- Scotland’s plan-led approach gives greater certainty and better balances strategic priorities with local interests than New Zealand’s effects-based Resource Management Act system
- We could save money and improve infrastructure performance by establishing an independent centre of expertise for project procurement, integration & public private partnerships.
- A specialist central agency could work in partnership with local government to consolidate procurement and provide immediate & substantial benefits for water & tourism infrastructure
- Public & environmental health could both be improved by consolidating wastewater & water supply delivery at a regional level
- Auckland’s Watercare could be sold to fund Auckland growth with minimal impact on the cost of services and improved strategic capability
- Dedicated independent regulators are more informed and take an outcomes-focused strategic view of the sector, which results in better services
- Local government can be incentivised to align investment priorities with national outcomes by using the UK City Deal approach.
Attribution: Infrastructure NZ release.