New Zealanders well disposed to PPPs, survey finds

New Zealanders prefer public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a faster way of funding infrastructure projects, according to a survey by New Zealand Business Council. The survey was conducted to help guide people elected to councils at upcoming local elections in the country.

A recent survey by ShapeNZ, an online survey panel of the New Zealand Business Council, found that New Zealanders want their councils to fund infrastructure projects on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, provided the councils own the assets once they are paid for.

At least 47 percent of the 2,840 respondents stated that they prefer PPPs to fund projects faster. The second most preferred way of raising capital is through council bonds (35 percent), followed by fuel tax (19 percent) and higher rates (4 percent), according to the survey results.

The purpose of the survey is to help guide people elected to councils at the October 9 local elections. At least 53 percent of the residents of Auckland support the use of PPPs in funding infrastructure projects.

The preferred PPP method would involve a council deciding the project, the private partner building and operating it and transferring it back to the council when it has been paid for, a press release states.

Business Council chief executive Peter Neilson said the research shows that New Zealanders want to speed up infrastructure projects and are looking towards the private sector to make this happen.

“Several of the major infrastructure projects being discussed in the new Auckland super city, for example, will require new sources of capital if they are to be brought forward – to more quickly ease traffic congestion and stimulate economic growth. They can’t be funded under current government and council programmes without increasing rates. Kiwis are saying let’s find and use new capital sources,” said Neilson.

The New Zealand government is looking for more private sector involvement in country’s infrastructure sector. Last month, the country’s Infrastructure and finance minister, Bill English, announced that any future infrastructure projects by government agencies that are worth more than $25 million will be required to consider alternative procurement options including public-private partnerships.