Te Waihanga supports COVID-19 response while keeping an eye on the long term

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga supports a co-ordinated response across the construction sector to recover from COVID-19, and is assisting where it can, while also continuing work on its 30-year strategy.

"Infrastructure will be an important part of economic recovery over the next year and beyond," says Te Waihanga Chair Dr Alan Bollard. "The Crown can play a key role in maintaining the health of the construction sector. Te Waihanga is assisting through providing procurement expertise and our general project experience to help issue guidance on contracting to keep construction companies operating. Our infrastructure pipeline will also help provide an overview of the timing, sequencing and scale of future credible and committed infrastructure projects."

Te Waihanga is committed to assisting New Zealand’s response and recovery as part of the Construction Sector Accord and the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group. 

"Currently parts of the economy are necessarily in hibernation," says Dr Alan Bollard, Te Waihanga Chair. "We are going to need some innovative policies to preserve jobs and businesses before we can kickstart it back to life. It’s vital that there are projects that are ready to go when the situation improves. We don’t want to lose skills or materials or investment intentions - they will be important for our recovery."

Te Waihanga’s pipeline and procurement specialists are working with central and local Government, as well as the private sector to address issues arising from the pandemic. The Infrastructure Pipeline updates dynamically and Te Waihanga says, when agencies are ready, they should advise any changes in project timing, to maintain the integrity of the tool.

"We’re also continuing to provide procurement advice to agencies on major projects including Dunedin Hospital and the Defence Estate, "says Dr Bollard. "It’s important to keep up momentum on these projects so that they can come to market as soon as possible."

Te Waihanga was created to lift infrastructure procurement and strategic planning, and it also must deliver a 30-year strategy to ensure New Zealand gets the quality infrastructure investment it needs.

"The work we do now will meld into the longer-term infrastructure push ahead. It’s vital that we learn from this pandemic as we shape the strategy with stakeholders," Dr Bollard says.