The Government should plan ahead and obtain advance design and environmental approvals for future infrastructure projects, the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) says.
The organisation welcomed the Government’s recent multi-million dollar package of infrastructure spending to help stimulate the economy, with many projects being fast tracked over the coming months.
However, ACENZ president Brent Meekan says extensive further investment in infrastructure would be required, and New Zealand should follow the example of a number of European governments which ensure they have a supply of approved “shovel-ready” projects.
“The projects already announced constitute a very good start, but extensive ongoing activity is required to build the robust national infrastructure networks required to service the country now and in the future,” he says.
“ACENZ member firms are able to react swiftly to commissions, but it is vital that sufficient time is allowed for the design process to ensure the provision of a modern, effective infrastructure system that provides the maximum benefits for the country.
“Substantial time lags can also occur between approval and commissioning of major projects due to the time required to gain design and environmental consents.
“A number of European countries have an ongoing programme ensuring fully designed and approved ‘shovel-ready’ projects are prepared for fast tracking at any time.
“Following this example in New Zealand would ensure we have sufficient design capacity to respond swiftly to economic and market demand.”