Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa

New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy

2. Vision for infrastructure

He tirohanga mō te hanganga

Infrastructure for a better future

The decisions we make about our infrastructure will shape the way we live for generations.

This strategy learns from the lessons of the past and looks to the future, planning ahead to ensure our infrastructure will help us to meet the challenges we’ll face.

“Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi – without foresight or vision the people will be lost.”

– Kingi Tawhiao Potatau te Wherowhero

It looks at the role our infrastructure system has in our wellbeing, including its importance to our economy and our jobs. It places equal importance on its contribution to our society, culture and environment. There are few parts of our lives that don’t rely on infrastructure.

The strategy also recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) as the constitutional foundation of Aotearoa, and it draws on concepts of te ao Māori to think about infrastructure from the broad perspectives of wellbeing (oranga), kaitiaki (guardianship and stewardship), integration, longevity and connection to place.

From this perspective, the vision for the strategy is:

Infrastructure lays a foundation for the people, places and businesses of Aotearoa New Zealand to thrive for generations.

E whakatakoto ana te hanganga i te tūāpapa o te ora o te tangata, o ngā wāhi, me ngā pakihi o Aotearoa kia ora rawa atu mō ngā whakatupuranga.

View from the Christchurch Bus Exchange toward Ao Tawhiti, Aotearoa New Zealand’s first vertical school. Source: Ernest Kung, iStock by Getty Images.

View from the Christchurch Bus Exchange toward Ao Tawhiti, Aotearoa New Zealand’s first vertical school. Source: Ernest Kung, iStock by Getty Images.

Infrastructure is a foundation for wellbeing.

This strategy sets a path to a 2050 where infrastructure continues to support wellbeing. We have a strong economy, options for how we get around, clean energy and access to health and education as our population grows and moves, and as technology changes. We’re resilient to shocks and stresses, including those that climate change brings. Infrastructure plays its part in supporting these and other goals, offering a foundation for a thriving New Zealand. The koru below (Figure 4) contains the many ways in which we expect infrastructure to support New Zealand’s people, places and businesses through to 2050.

Figure 4: How infrastructure supports New Zealand’s people, places and businesses

Source: Te Waihanga

Source: Te Waihanga

Guiding principles

We’ve used three guiding principles to develop this strategy: equitable, aspirational and efficient.




We acknowledge that our generation holds the environment in common with other generations, past and future.

We promote development that meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

We promote infrastructure that enhances wellbeing for all New Zealanders including the vulnerable.

What it can mean

  • Invest in long-lived infrastructure.
  • Plan for cities that are multiples of their existing size.
  • Use debt to distribute costs over time.
  • Enable sustainable growth and mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • Infrastructure is paid for by those using it.
  • Identify mitigations for vulnerable groups.
  • There is diversity across infrastructure industries.
  • Identify opportunities to empower Māori.
  • Integrate land use and infrastructure to maximise access for all.