Discussing on infrastructure asset management mandate in New Zealand towns and cities, Heather observed that the country was keen on achieving financial efficiency and flexibility of implementing agencies.
She expressed that they would not want somebody to say, “You must use program X. You must fill out form Y. You must fill out form Z.”
Heather says further:
I mean I don’t think we’d want to go down that path where it’s really prescriptive of exactly what you have to do. I think we want it to be a little bit more flexible than that.
And I think the thing you’ve got to realize and I guess this might be the case for the US now. New Zealand started its mandatory infrastructure asset management off the back of a savage recession, which would be our worst one since the great depression, which was at the end of the 1980s.
And so New Zealand ran out of money. We had 65 percent of GDP was government debt and we couldn’t afford a lot of programs, we just didn’t have money to waste. So that pushes you to manage better and to do things smarter.
That was what was sitting behind New Zealand applying asset management tools to manage their infrastructure well.
The legislation at the time that was passed was bipartisan with general political and administration agreement that more prudent financial management and infrastructure asset management was needed.
So the legislation just went through and became law. There was no dispute about the fact it was needed.
I think if you go back a decade or so, America wasn’t in that situation.
I think maybe, off the back of this current recession that the US has experienced that the people are thinking more about the need to work as efficiently as possible and to get some long term sustainability.
So I think maybe in the US you’ll see some more political discussion and agreement about the need for infrastructure asset management as a result of just the general awareness of the impacts of the recession and that there’s not a whole heap of money floating around.
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