Defining infrastructure

How we think about infrastructure

As an initial step in work to develop a 30-year strategy for New Zealand's infrastructure, we've developed a discussion document called Infrastructure Under One Roof: Standardising how we think about the shared services around us.

The document describes an integrated framework for looking at infrastructure issues and our working definition of infrastructure. 

Defining infrastructure:

“A system of inter-connected physical structures that employ capital to provide shared services to enhance wellbeing.”

A focus on wellbeing

This looks beyond the physical pipes, roads and wires to the services provided by the infrastructure that New Zealand needs to thrive. This services approach focuses on the wellbeing outcomes we are trying to achieve, whether it’s the ability to get to work in a reasonable time, have affordable heating for our homes or run a successful online business. 

A system of systems

“Infrastructure under one roof” also recognises that no one part of our infrastructure works by itself: our roads carry our pipes and powerlines and they connect us to social infrastructure like schools. 

Getting the greatest value out of our infrastructure

Through our infrastructure strategy we will be identifying the ways we can get the greatest value from this system over the next thirty years to improve the lives of New Zealanders. 

We've developed a framework to look at the common components that are relevant to identifying, designing, funding, building and operating the infrastructure we need. 

These are described in “Infrastructure under one roof” and include the enabling environment, the sustainable use of our capital stocks, the investment management system and achieving wellbeing outcomes.

Next steps

Taking a systems approach will also mean going beyond a focus on specific sectors in the final strategy. As a first step we are building our evidence with a close look at the state of play in six key areas: telecommunications, energy, water, waste and resource recovery, transport, education and health.

Over the coming months we’ll be releasing our state of play reports on each of these sectors.

Let us know what you think

Tell us what you think about our definition and framework for thinking about infrastructure. 
If you have any feedback or want to comment get in touch at