A new post-pandemic group has been formed for the multibillion-dollar infrastructure sector to gear up after the coronavirus level 4 alert ends.
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Economic Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced the formation of the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group.
That will be headed by Mark Binns, Crown Infrastructure Partners chairman, ex-Fletcher Construction chief, ex-Meridian Energy chief executive and a director of Metlifecare.
The Government has asked the new group to find $10 million-plus infrastructure projects ready to start, to reduce the economic pain from the Covid-19 pandemic, Jones and Twyford announced.
The group will put forward private- and public-sector projects that are shovel-ready or likely to be within six months, the ministers said.
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Chris Haines, a director of cost consultant and quantity surveying business Rider Levett Bucknall's Auckland office, backed the announcement of the new group, indicating it could soften the blow dealt to the sector.
"The Government seems to have a sensible plan to seek to build out of the downturn more so than simply bailing the sector out which is good for the industry in the medium term. Significant subsidies and concessions will still be needed in the short term, particularly if the lockdown continues much beyond the initial four weeks," Haines predicted.
Smaller projects might be considered if they would have a direct and immediate benefit to the regional economies and communities.
Information about the work of the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group and the project criteria is on the Crown Infrastructure Partners website today.