Te Waihanga’s project and agency support approach

Are you from a local or central government agency undertaking a major infrastructure project or programme? The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga may be able to help.  

In our legislation, Te Waihanga is required to promote a strategic and co-ordinated approach, and provide support services for, the delivery of current and proposed infrastructure projects.  In central government and state services agencies, our mandate relates specifically to infrastructure projects worth over $50 million.  

While the mandate is clear, it presents several challenges,” says Peter Murray, GM Major Projects and Advisory. “First, it is silent regarding our ability to provide support to local government entities delivering major infrastructure projects. It also says little about the many ways Te Waihanga can support projects.  

“In addition, it doesn’t provide guidance on how to create strategic alignment between Te Waihanga and investment intensive agencies, which frequently deliver projects with values over $50 million.  

To address these issues, Te Waihanga has developed two template agreements to formalise the ways it works with procuring agencies: a Project Support Agreement (PSA) and an Agency Support Agreement (ASA).   

Project Support Agreements 

PSAs outline the types of support Te Waihanga will offer to procuring agencies through project inception, development of a project business case and preparing for and undertaking a procurement process. The schedule to the agreement sets out in detail the areas of activity and potential roles Te Waihanga could play through the project life.   

Each PSA will typically reflect a multi-year commitment to the project from Te Waihanga’s Major Project and Advisory team at project management and/or project governance levels. So far Te Waihanga has signed two PSAs and there are more under discussion.   

“Te Waihanga welcomes requests for support from local or central government agencies undertaking major infrastructure projects or programmes,” says Peter. “Having said that, our resources are limited, so we prioritise agencies where our advice and support can have optimal impact.Te Waihanga is not a replacement for commercial and technical advisory mandates with private sector advisors. 

Agency Support Agreements 

Te Waihanga has started discussions on ASAs with several investment-intensive agencies. We aim to develop ASAs that improve the capability of both the agency and the broader investment system to deliver successful projects and programmes. ASAs seek to agree areas where we can support each other, or work together on particular initiatives, while acknowledging each agency’s role and mandate. 

We’ve found that the areas of focus within each ASA can vary widely,” says PeterSome focus mostly on strategic and system matters, such as policy or regulatory issues that are perceived as bottlenecks to delivery. Others are focused more directly on getting projects off the ground. 

“We’re not generally looking to support highly capable investment agencies on their ‘typical’ projects. We are more likely to support projects that have significant commercial novelty or complexity for that agency, and/or those that involve infrastructure finance.  

To inquire about Project and Agency Support Agreements, contact Peter Murray.