The Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga seeks to lift infrastructure planning and delivery to a more strategic level and by doing so, improve New Zealanders’ long-term economic performance and social wellbeing.
The Commission was formed by legislation on 25 September 2019 and is an autonomous Crown entity, listed under the Crown Entities Act 2004, with an independent board.
The Commission’s mandate arises from its legislation, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Rules of Procurement(external link) and the State Services Investment Management System(external link) which sets out Cabinet’s expectations regarding the management of investments through their lifecycles.
Infrastructure is described as both horizontal, for example roads, pipes, rails and wires; as well as vertical, such as schools, hospitals and prisons. The Commission will help improve how New Zealand coordinates and plans these significant projects, make the most of the infrastructure the country already has, and plan long-term to ensure our investment delivers what we need, where and when we need it. The intention is that together, this will improve New Zealand’s productivity and the wellbeing of its people. To achieve this the Commission’s primary functions are long term strategy and planning; as well as Major Projects, procurement and delivery advice and support.
The reo Māori name for the Commission, Te Waihanga, means a cornerstone, or to make, create, develop, build, construct, generate. Te Waihanga therefore indicates how significant the Commission will be in shaping New Zealand’s future infrastructure planning and investment.
Strategy and Planning
Working with central and local government, the private sector and other stakeholders, the Commission will develop a 30-year infrastructure strategy. This involves building broad public agreement to a plan which will be reported to Government firstly by the end of 2021, thereafter every 5 years . The strategy will cover the ability of existing infrastructure to meet community expectations; current and future infrastructure needs and priorities; as well as any barriers which could impede the delivery of infrastructure or services arising from it.
The Commission also has procurement and delivery advice and support functions. These include assisting the preparation of business cases and can involve the provision of embedded Major Projects and procurement expertise, within central and local government agencies.
As well, a team of experts provides best practice guidance on infrastructure procurement and delivery, including standardised procurement processes and documentation for major infrastructure projects.
An additional function is co-ordination of the NZ public private partnership programme.
A key area of focus is the creation of an Infrastructure Pipeline. The Commission has a role to act as a 'shop front' for the market and to publish a pipeline of infrastructure projects. This will be an iterative process. When fully developed, the pipeline will help give the infrastructure market greater certainty about future infrastructure projects, which will assist in gearing-up capacity and capability to deliver. It will also inform the Commission’s thinking as it develops a 30-year strategy to address New Zealand’s infrastructure needs.