Our intentions: Looking at how significant investment decisions are made

10 March 2021: It's vital that any spending of public money delivers good value for New Zealanders. The spending currently planned for a range of infrastructure projects is considerable. Along with the spending announced as part of the Covid-19 response, it's once-in-a-lifetime spending that will have cost implications for generations to come.

What we’re focusing on

Our performance audit will assess the effectiveness of the decision-making systems and processes that have underpinned investment decisions for two significant programmes of work on our infrastructure – the New Zealand Upgrade Programme and the shovel-ready fund.

The Upgrade Programme is a $12 billion infrastructure investment programme, announced in January 2020. It includes investments in roads, rail, hospitals, and schools. The programme was announced as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in New Zealand – modernising our infrastructure, preparing for climate change and helping grow the economy”.

The shovel-ready fund is a $3 billion portion of the Government’s response to Covid-19, announced in April 2020. The fund is targeted towards infrastructure investments that can enable immediate job creation, generate other public benefits, and can have construction activity under way within 12 months.

We picked these two because of their scale and complexity, and the level of public interest in them.

We will focus on four main aspects of the systems and processes:

  • how decisions were made about where the money would go and which projects were funded;
  • how engagement processes were used in making decisions;
  • how decisions were communicated and recorded; and
  • how monitoring, reporting, and evaluation were considered during the planning stages.

The difference we expect to make

Our work will provide Parliament and the public with an independent view about how these two significant investment decisions have been made. We will describe how well the public sector has managed the systems and processes underlying decisions to invest $15 billion on behalf of the New Zealand public.

The work might also highlight opportunities for public organisations to learn and improve. We are particularly interested in supporting the public sector to make robust decisions in emergency situations.

We expect to complete this work before the end of October 2021.

Please use the feedback form on the right if you’d like to speak to a staff member about this performance audit, make a suggestion, or ask a question.