Infrastructure Plan needs trade-offs

Infrastructure Plan needs trade-offs

Our next National Infrastructure Plan requires more detail about infrastructure trade-offs, says BusinessNZ.

The latest version of the plan, devised by the Treasury’s National Infrastructure Unit, is due for release soon.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says businesses need to have a clear sense of government priorities for infrastructure development in order to know what they can plan on and ensure their investments are not misplaced.

He says the first version of the plan released a year ago was long and detailed but did not clearly convey priorities.

“The next plan shouldn’t just be a big compilation or list of existing sectoral plans.

“At some stage, circumstances will require some sectoral plans to take precedence over others, and a national plan should be able to give in advance some idea of priorities. Tensions in this process will be inevitable, but healthy.

“The rebuilding required following the Christchurch earthquake will surely mean some other infrastructure projects will not proceed in the near future. A good plan should be robust enough to handle such events and able to give us a sense of what the priorities are and how trade-offs might be made.”

Mr O’Reilly said it needed to make clear the economic, technical and political trade-offs required to reach agreement on priorities, so everyone can understand and get behind the plan.

BusinessNZ has commissioned an independent report, Raising the Bar: Towards an Effective National Infrastructure Plan by Castalia Strategic Advisors, to raise related issues for public debate.

“BusinessNZ supports infrastructure planning and ongoing efforts to make it as useful and relevant as possible,” Mr O’Reilly said.

The Castalia report Raising the Bar: Towards an Effective National Infrastructure Plan can be found under ‘commentaries’ on www.businessnz.org.nz.

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21 Mar, 2011

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