Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : July 2011 Contents 78 futurebuilding
Volume 2 Number 1
English speaking: NZ pursues more PPPs
‘The government is going to be open to any
proposition that will get more done sooner and at a
reasonable price, because it’s so important to rebuild
confidence,’ English says.
Even so, with government determined to pay for
the rebuild through savings, and worries of a credit
downgrade looming large, Selwood says PPPs will
need to be part of the mix.
‘There is a stronger impetus now for PPPs.’
As well as rebuilding lives and restoring
confidence in Christchurch, there is a broader goal
at stake for New Zealand: an obsession, of sorts, with
recapturing the glory years when preferential access
to the United Kingdom for its wool and lamb helped
make New Zealand one of the wealthiest countries.
An often stated goal is to be ranked in the upper
half of the 29 countries that make up the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD). But every year New Zealand’s standing
seems to ebb. In 2009 it ranked 23rd out of 29, with
the country’s overall output of goods and services
the equivalent of about $25,000 per person. That
put New Zealand just ahead of the Czech Republic.
Australia ranked 16th.
The National Party’s stated aim ahead of its 2008
general election win was for New Zealand’s GDP per
capita to match Australia’s by 2025. English admits
that’s going to be a tough slog as Asian economies
clamber for Australia’s energy and mineral wealth.
Upgraded roads in Auckland and a favourable
exchange rate ought to put more wind in New
Zealand’s sails, he says, adding that the country is
competing for scarce capital and skill. Infrastructure
development over the next few years is one
way to have a better environment that supports
manufacturing and logistics, he notes. For better or
for worse, New Zealand lacks many of the severe
bottlenecks that are plaguing Australia’s major cities
But despite these advantages, English is right to
argue that it will be a big ask. New Zealand’s GDP
would need to grow by an average of four per cent a
year (compared with about 2.5 per cent now) by 2030,
when the country’s population is expected to have
risen about 17 per cent to just under five million.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2010-
11 Global Competitiveness Report, New Zealand’s
infrastructure was considered the biggest obstacle
to business. Almost one in five respondents to the
survey said that an inadequate supply of infrastructure
was their most problematic factor for doing business,
outranking access to finance, or tax arrangements.
‘We have an opportunity to get on top of our
infrastructure priorities in the next three to five years
and be in pretty good shape,’ English says.
‘We don’t have the huge demands for growth
already pressing down on us, like Australia.’
Continued on page 80
Upgrades to Auckland’s
roads should put wind in
New Zealand’s sails.
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