Published 16 January 2009
Council for Infrastructure Development chief executive Stephen Selwood said on Wednesday a joint public/private sector advisory board reporting to the Infrastructure Minister should be appointed urgently to prioritise investment in national infrastructure and optimise value for money from its capital investment programme.
"Contractors across the country, particularly subcontactors are already feeling the effects of a downturn in work. While there’s no shortage of work that can be kick-started to address the immediate problem, effective prioritisation of projects is critical so they can be brought to market as soon as possible.
"The first task for the advisory board must be to take stock and advise the Government on priorities for public works projects that are already consented and have a demonstrated high benefit:cost ratio. Examples include road safety projects & local road improvements across the country, a backlog of work on the national rail network and a combination of maintenance & capital investment across housing, health, education, electricity transmission, water, defence & corrections. This work needs to be given the green light as soon as possible.
"The next task is to ensure a start on major capital works that are already consented and that will give greatest stimulus to economic growth. For example, in excess of $1 billion of roading projects, including Victoria Park Tunnel, the Newmarket Viaduct & Penlink in Auckland, the Waikato Expressway, Te Rapa Bypass in Hamilton, Christchurch Southern Motorway, are among a range of projects that are ready to start or which can be advanced.
"Overarching this immediate work, the advisory board should be charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating a whole-of-government 20-year infrastructure plan and recommending the policy changes necessary to drive economic growth in the medium term.
"Constraints on public funds mean a combination of public- & private-sector finance will be needed to fund all of the work required. Leveraging private-sector investment, and improving value for money through private-sector innovation & risk transfer, will be critical success factors for any such capital investment programme.”
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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.