New Zealand unveils 30 year infrastructure plan

Wellington, Aug 20 (IANS) The New Zealand government on Thursday unveiled a 30 year infrastructure plan that will include building a joint infrastructure market with Australia and initiatives to guide spending on some big projects.

Lindsay Crossen, chair of the National Infrastructure Advisory Board, said the country generally had a good existing infrastructure base but it was facing growing future pressures, Xinhua reported.

“Our assets are getting older and will soon need replacing, our population is aging, we face a shift in economic gravity towards Asia, and we face regional growth in some areas and decline in others,” Crossen said in a statement.

The plan included the development of national shared data standards for roads, buildings and water assets, stronger practices for larger procurements, including increasing the transparency of future intentions, and the development of a Trans-Tasman procurement market.

“Central and local government own approximately 220 billion NZ dollars ($145.46 billion) worth of assets and plan to spend another 100 billion NZ dollars ($66.12 billion) over the next 10 years. This plan will ensure that we spend our money wisely, and find more innovative ways of better managing our existing infrastructure,” he said.

Launching the plan, Finance Minister Bill English said in a statement that some aging infrastructure networks would need renewing.

“Our schools are 42-years old on average, and parts of the water network are over 100 years old,” English said.

With the population forecast to grow and to age from an average age of 37 now to 43 years in 2043, demand for infrastructure would also change.

“Infrastructure is expensive — central and local government combined are expected to spend 11 billion NZ dollars ($7.27 billion) on infrastructure each year for the next 10 years,” he said.

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