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Taxpayers deserve better oversight on big money projects

The latest scorecard on National’s management of major infrastructure projects shows that the Government is letting New Zealanders down when it comes to managing significant investments, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.

The Treasury today released the November 2016 Interim Major Projects report, representing its view of 53 high-value investments being made by government across the country.

“The report shows that 20 of these projects have ‘significant issues’ and require ‘management attention’,” says Mr Robertson.

“Highly sensitive projects in defence, education and health are all facing delivery challenges. Overall, nine projects have seen their ‘delivery confidence’ level fall since the last report.

“These projects represent important and significant investments on behalf of all New Zealanders. It is troubling that National’s Ministers have failed to get a grip on projects that have been in danger for some time.

“The National Bowel Screening Programme is still Amber/Red, meaning it requires urgent action to address major risks. The ANZAC frigate upgrade has declined from amber to red, which means there are major issues that are not manageable without significant changes.

“The delivery confidence of the Lincoln University/Ag Research Building Project has declined to amber-red also, with concerns that the financial viability of one of the partners is uncertain.

“This is a project for which the new Finance Minister Steven Joyce has had oversight. He has some serious questions to answer about what is happening at Lincoln.

“Overall this report paints a picture of a government that has lost touch with its key projects. Rather than dismiss these reports as ‘utter tripe’ as Ministers have done before, there needs to be more urgency to get the management right.

“Labour will give a greater priority to ensuring that we plan well for the long term, and look after every dollar of our investments just as New Zealanders would rightly expect from a responsible government.”