Infrastructure for a better future

The Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s proposals to extensively overhaul the way New Zealand’s infrastructure is planned, prioritised and built, is an impressive, comprehensive and thought-provoking document.

Aptly titled He Tūāpapa ki te Ora, Infrastructure for a Better Future the discussion document sets a proposed direction for a 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy, which is being developed – covering how we manage and develop the country’s biggest public networks and services: roads and rail, power, water and communications, as well as health, education and waste.

Metals New Zealand, as outlined in our  submission here wholeheartedly supports the strategy vision of a New Zealand with a productive, carbon-neutral economy, affordable homes, reliable travel and safe and healthy communities – though we encourage the Commission to include ‘equitable access’ in this vision.

Ultimately the ability of New Zealand’s infrastructure sector to deliver on this vision is inextricably linked to New Zealand’s construction and manufacturing sectors. In our submission we highlight key areas missing from the discussion document that the Commission should consider including:

  • Working collaboratively – this must be added to the decision making principles. The challenge ahead is enormous and can only be achieved by working collaboratively.  The document talks about working in partnership with infrastructure providers, which is great.  But Metals New Zealand asks – where is the connection to local supply and working to build the capacity and capability of local manufacturing to meet infrastructure needs and provide certainty of supply at a time when international supply / supply chains are failing
  • Factoring in the connection that in delivering the infrastructure there is a real opportunity to build skills, technologies along with New Zealand’s manufacturing capacity and capability
  • Looking more closely at the potential of what can be delivered from a circular economy where we will design to deconstruct, re-use, repurpose and recycle materials – rather than the current delivery model which delivers some new materials to landfill during the construction processes construction and the remainder to landfill at end of life.
  • Ensuring there is fair transition for those manufacturing businesses which currently rely on natural gas for high value process heat, (which electricity is unable to deliver) for their manufacturing processes – including making natural gas available to ensure that local industry which supplies the infrastructure sector can continue to compete and supply.
  • In addition to building spare transmission capacity, avoiding “first mover disadvantage” and maintaining energy prices at a level which enables local manufacturers to compete with global suppliers – which we support – we want to see the Commission investigate the potential for distributive generation, (e.g. solar power across housing and industrial roofs).

You can read our submission here Metals NZ Infrastructure Commission 30-year strategy discussion document – submission June 2021