PPPs ‘could be sticking point’ for NZ coalition infra plans

The use of PPPs could be a point of disagreement in the infrastructure plans of New Zealand’s likely new government partners, Infrastructure New Zealand has warned.

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The membership body has welcomed the fact that all three parties likely to form the next government are in broad agreement about the scale of the country’s infrastructure deficit and the urgency and investment required to address it.

Centre-right party National became the biggest party in parliament following last week’s election, however it fell short of a majority and is now working to establish a government, which could involve both the ACT and New Zealand First parties.

Plans for a new central infrastructure agency are also part of all three parties’ proposals, meaning there is welcome alignment on this issue.

However, Infrastructure New Zealand chief executive Nick Leggett warned: “Where there is potential for disagreement is over the role of PPPs in financing new infrastructure. New Zealand First is far more cautious in that space than both National and ACT and has cited delays in projects such as Transmission Gully as evidence that the PPP model as used in the past had flaws.”

He added: “Infrastructure New Zealand considers PPPs to be an important financing tool for future infrastructure development, particularly as the new government seeks greater restraint over government spending.”

Nonetheless, Leggett remains optimistic on the future prospects for infrastructure in the country. “Overall, Infrastructure New Zealand considers there to be plenty of common ground between the parties on infrastructure and I am confident that this can be a policy area where New Zealand can make significant progress over the next three years.”