Apopo: ‘Infrastructure tragedy’ is quickly coming into view

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New Zealand is staring down the barrel of an infrastructure tragedy, according to a new survey by the lead association for infrastructure asset management professionals.

Apopo released the findings of its first Member Sentiment survey, highlighting that New Zealand’s infrastructure has not improved in the past year. Additionally, the majority of respondents believed the country doesn’t have sufficient capability to manage infrastructure assets.

Apopo president Gary Porteous says providing for community needs from infrastructure is a massive challenge that is not being met. Without a longer-term and committed plan of investment in old and new infrastructure, our assets will continue to decline.

“We need a step change to the way we fund, develop, manage and maintain our country’s infrastructure — a dramatic increase in pot holes is a great representation of what happens when we haven’t invested well enough in our assets,” Porteous says.

“Our survey also shows that we need to find new ways to steer ourselves away from an infrastructure tragedy.

“This is why Apopo supports Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) calls for a more sustainable funding structure that gives greater clarity around the future pipeline of infrastructure work.”

The majority of survey respondents work in local government (75%) with 20% in central government, and 5% working for private asset holders.

This is unsurprising, the survey reads, particularly given the make-up of Apopo membership and infrastructure asset ownership in New Zealand.

At a time when central government is talking about tax cuts, local leaders know rate increases are necessary to provide for communities’ futures, LGNZ president Sam Broughton says.

“We cannot keep patching up worn out assets. Local councils are very aware of increases in the cost of living and how difficult this conversation is for communities.

“Continuing to rely so heavily on household and business rates is not a sustainable funding approach for local government. LGNZ will be working with the Government on a toolbox approach to addressing funding and financing challenges.”

About Apopo

Formerly the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia New Zealand Division, Apopo is the lead association for infrastructure asset management professionals in New Zealand.

It recently celebrated 75 years of representing, developing and enhancing New Zealand’s infrastructure asset management profession.

Click here to read the Apopo Member Sentiment in full.

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