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The evolution of infrastructure demands innovative thinking and collaborative effort. Our recent delegation to the UK, facilitated by Infrastructure New Zealand, offered a remarkable opportunity to learn from ‘Place-Based Solutions.’

Senior leaders from both the public and private sectors in Aotearoa visited London, Manchester, and Cardiff and heard from a range of organisations such as OfWat, Transport for London, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Welsh Water, and Manchester City Football Club.

These interactions revealed critical insights into the challenges, successes and lessons learned when operating water utilities in a privatised and regulated environment; the creation and delivery of city and regional deals; the funding of major infrastructure projects; and aligning these initiatives with broader sustainability goals. 

A key takeaway is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for developing, delivering, and operating infrastructure. For New Zealand, this means that while many general concepts from the UK are applicable, we must create solutions tailored to the specific locations and contexts where we aim to build for the future.

Uk INZ Future Infrastructure
Several themes emerged that are fundamental to moving forward successfully:

Strong Leadership and Advocacy

Strong leadership and advocacy from senior political figures are crucial for initiating progress. However, it’s equally important for these leaders to trust the experts they have charged with delivery, and step back to allow that to happen.

Outcome-Oriented Approaches

Focusing on long-term outcomes rather than immediate outputs ensures infrastructure projects achieve their goals. This requires planning over multi-decade horizons that transcend short political cycles. At the highest level, it’s evident that investment in infrastructure can lead to significant, sustainable economic growth.

Risk Management

It’s beneficial to have a willingness at leadership level to accept some well-articulated risks, and to understand that some of those risks might become real issues – but the overall benefits and outcomes should significantly outweigh these potential issues.


Genuine collaboration between central and local governments, technical services, advisory services, and delivery partners is vital. This collaboration fosters innovation and creativity, driving successful project delivery.

Collaboration future infrastructure

If we can embrace these lessons and enhance local connections, partnerships, ideas and innovative thinking, the potential for progress is immense. Despite the challenges ahead, the future of infrastructure in Aotearoa looks promising if we work together towards sustainable solutions.