In September 2022, the New Zealand Government released their response to the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy 2022. The purpose of the recommendations is to improve infrastructure and construction policy by effectively responding to challenges like inflationary pressures and climate-change. There are 67 recommendations which the Government has responded to. We have highlighted and summarised the eight key recommendations relevant to construction projects. The Government has supported the following recommendations in full or in principle.
Recommendation 4: Minimise lock-in of future emissions
The Government has indicated its commitment to set a strategic direction for emissions reductions plans in public sector investment programmes. Specifically, this will involve reviewing regulations to ensure that they do not inhibit the uptake of low carbon materials.
Recommendation 8: Improve efficiency and security of freight and the national supply chain
The goal of this recommendation is to develop a long-term national freight and supply chain strategy. This will be implemented by carrying out reforms and investments that will enable more efficient movement of freight and provide freight users with competition and choice.
Recommendation 30: Prioritise options that minimise waste entering the market to avoid unnecessary infrastructure costs
The recommendation encourages banning products that are difficult to recycle. It also encourages the development of options to incentivise greater product stewardship and calls for increasing waste-disposal levies whilst increasing illegal dumping regulation. The Government notes that they are progressing bans that target hard-to-recycle plastic packaging and single-use items between 2022 and 2025.
Recommendation 34: Develop uses for recycled materials in infrastructure
Under this recommendation, the Government specifies that agencies should identify opportunities for domestic reprocessing, including for plastics, metals, fibreglass, plasterboard and aggregate. Further, it encourages innovation in, and procurement of, infrastructure design and construction to enable greater use of recyclable materials.
Recommendation 37: Encourage public infrastructure waste minimisation and designing for deconstruction
This recommendation advises the creation of a requirement for all infrastructure projects to incorporate waste minimisation plans. It also encourages creating prefabrication and standardised options and calls for investigating the efficacy of a resource exchange mechanism for infrastructure projects. The Government notes that they are progressing specific waste minimisation initiatives.
Recommendation 38: Strengthen Government as a sophisticated client of infrastructure
The purpose of this recommendation is to strengthen Government as a direct client in construction and infrastructure projects, rather than having to overly depend on intermediaries. The Government plans to develop the following capabilities:
- service quality standards and standard design methodologies for each major infrastructure asset class with key delivery agencies;
- predict future infrastructure needs through the requirement of long-term planning informed by service standards; and
- strengthen skills in governance, commissioning, procuring, negotiation and oversight for the end-to-end delivery of major infrastructure
Recommendation 51: Improve the ability to debt fund infrastructure
As a way of accessing alternative financing and avoiding debt on local government balance sheets, the recommendation calls for utilising the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act 2020 (IFF Act) and other Special Purpose Vehicles as a mechanism for new infrastructure investments. Further, the Government is progressing a cross-agency infrastructure funding and financing workstream as part of the Urban Growth Agenda.
Recommendation 66: Build New Zealand’s competitiveness for international firms and products
This recommendation calls for the New Zealand market to adopt international standards by default unless there is a compelling reason for a specific New Zealand standard. The Government seeks to ensure a consistent approach in: (i) product and building standards; (ii) qualification requirements; and (iii) contract and procurement processes. The purpose of this is to strengthen the trans-Tasman procurement market and reduce barriers for international firms and products entering the New Zealand market.
This article was co-authored by Hayden Noyce, an intern in our Construction and Infrastructure team.
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