On a scale of well to badly managed major projects – green through amber to red – a Treasury report issued yesterday said Auckland’s city rail link again scored a green, but Housing NZ’s programme to accelerate redevelopment of its land in Auckland to deliver affordable housing only scored an amber.
The new interim Major Projects Performance Report for the period to November 2016, released yesterday, covers 53 complex major projects across government – and beyond, because the city rail link only became a partly Government project last September. All up, the projects have a whole-of-life cost of $37 billion.
The Treasury report lists Treasury & the Ministry of Transport as the Government agencies involved in the rail link project. Until late last year they were on the outside, with work already underway at multiple points around the central business district. The Government, which had rejected former mayor Len Brown’s insistence on an earlier schedule to complete the project, joined as a 50:50 partner last September.
On Housing NZ’s redevelopment programme, the report says: “The focus continues to be on finalising the programme business case, clearly defining costs & benefits for the programme, and finalising governance & delivery arrangements in advance of Cabinet decisions. A draft business case has been to the Housing NZ Corp board for consideration & comment.”
That’s back to front: Work has started, negotiations have been completed for some developments – and the business case is still on its way?
The Government issued its first major projects performance report on 30 November 2015 and scored an immediate hit in Christchurch: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was quoted in the Press dismissing the report and calling it “utter tripe”, and saying the findings showed the “arrogant bureaucratic attitude” Wellington-based departments had toward Christchurch, the report had been produced by book-keepers and “They should spend more time book-keeping rather than trying to second-guess the Government’s strategy”. He found the report, which at that point he hadn’t read, “entirely disrespectful” and said funding for the projects was already in place.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce made out yesterday the Government was doing far more than normal; building consent figures out yesterday indicate a slowdown in government works (but not all these major projects are building-related).
Mr Joyce said: “The Government is in the middle of our biggest ever infrastructure spend. We are investing billions of dollars to construct hospitals, schools, roads & courts, provide equipment for our armed forces and develop ICT capabilities to transform public services.
“These investments are instrumental for the provision of quality public services for our growing country, and it is important that they are delivered well. Transparent reporting is a key part of ensuring agencies lift their performance in investment management.”
In the projects report, 90% have been assessed as amber or better, 4 as amber/red and one as red. “Overall, there is an increase in the proportion of projects moving towards green,” Mr Joyce said.
The red & amber/red rated projects are:
- Anzac frigate systems upgrade – Defence (red)
- Lincoln University/AgResearch Stage 1 building project
- Maori land service – Te Puni Kokiri
- Transforming the system of service delivery programme – Department of Internal Affairs, and
- National bowel screening programme – Ministry of Health.
The police human resource management information system project was rated red in the previous period and has improved to amber.
2 projects are close to completion and no longer require monitoring: the Christchurch schools rebuild programme and the Burwood Hospital redevelopment.
The Canterbury Public Sector Quarterly Rebuild Report content is now included in this report to provide the public with a single source of information about the Canterbury rebuild recovery.
The interim report covers the period July–November 2016 and was finalised before the Kaikoura earthquakes on 14 November.
19 January 2017: Building consent highs still don’t match migrant demand
27 July 2016: First ratings out on government agencies’ management
1 December 2015: Major project transparency brings Christchurch consternation
Attribution: Treasury documents & release.