The Crown Fibre Holdings model used to build New Zealand's fibre network is being extended to give councils a way to build other essential infrastructure.
It's not just the model. CFH itself has become the body overseeing the projects. It's new name is Crown Infrastructure Partners.
CIP will start straight away with two Auckland infrastructure projects in Wainui and around Drury costing $588 million. It will receive money from targeted council rates and user charges for the infrastructure being built. Councils using CIP in this way will have the option of buying back the assets developed at a later date.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce says government will invest $600 million in Crown Infrastructure Partners to get it started, he expects private sector investors to join later.
The lessons from the nationwide UFB fibre build are behind the new plan. Joyce says: "We learnt from the ultra-fast broadband programme that if we de-risk some of the early stages of the investment, we can bring in private sector investors to take on much of the heavy lifting as the investments mature.
"We expect the Crown’s investment in each project to be matched with at least one to one with private sector investment over time."
It may be some time yet. Government is putting the first $600 million into the pot to fund two projects expected to cost $588 million.
Most of the money will be spent on the Drury South development. This is seeing 180ha of business and industrial development. It includes 700 new houses.
With work on the first stage of the UFB fibre build entering its final stages and the winning bids for UFB2 soon to be announced, CFH's initial role is winding down. Recycling the organisation is simpler and cheaper than establishing a new one.