INDEPENDENT NEWS

Making It Easier To Build Infrastructure

Published: Tue 18 Jun 2024 07:08 PM
Hon Chris Penk
Minister for Land Information
The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today.
An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and cheaper.
“It is no secret that New Zealand faces an infrastructure deficit. Critical infrastructure projects like schools, roads, water services and energy projects have not kept pace with our nation’s needs,” Mr Penk says.
“The result is congested roads, a shortage of housing, burst pipes and electricity blackouts. To improve the lives of all New Zealanders and rebuild the economy we need to make it easier to build major infrastructure projects.
“I expect the panel to conduct a short and sharp review and provide expert advice on changes to enable critical infrastructure to be delivered on time and under budget.
“The Act plays a key role in the delivery of infrastructure projects, but it has not been substantially amended since 1988. Users tell us it is outdated and, in certain key areas, no longer fit for purpose, meaning that some projects are delayed by up to half a decade before a shovel even hits the ground.
“This adds time, cost, and uncertainty – for taxpayers, infrastructure planners, and landowners, all of whom may be in limbo for years. Every year millions of dollars are spent by government agencies litigating under the Act.
“New Zealand currently ranks in the bottom 10 per cent of high-income countries in terms of how much infrastructure we deliver for the cost. This is clearly the wrong kind of world leading.
“That's why the Government is updating the Act as part of wider package of reforms to make it quicker and more efficient to build infrastructure.”
The independent advisory panel will be appointed by the Chief Executive of Land Information, the agency responsible for administering the Public Works Act.
The legislation giving effect to these changes will be introduced in mid-2025. The public will then have an opportunity to provide feedback during the select committee process.
Notes:
Cabinet has agreed for the eight-week review to focus on:efficiency – improving process efficiency and removing unnecessary duplicationeffectiveness – legislation is workable, fit for purpose and realises the Crown’s ability to undertake public worksclarity – providing transparency for those using and affected by PWA processes

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