Auditor-General's Overview

Auditor-General's Overview

In November 2013 and May 2016, the Office of the Auditor-General examined how effectively and efficiently the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), the New Zealand Transport Agency, and the Christchurch City Council were reinstating horizontal infrastructure through the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) alliance.

The aim of the audit was ensure that public entities were operating, and accounting for their performance, in line with Parliament's intentions.

Under this brief, in November 2013, the Auditor-General concluded that:

  • SCIRT had many of the good-practice characteristics of alliancing;
  • SCIRT projects seemed reasonably priced, given the circumstances;
  • SCIRT was delivering other benefits, including increasing the skill level of the construction workforce and fostering innovation.

However, it noted several risks, including:

  • SCIRT's effectiveness was being increasingly hindered by a lack of clarity about governance roles and responsibilities, and by limited involvement from CERA in the governance of SCIRT.
  • The public entities did not have a common understanding of the levels of service that the repaired horizontal infrastructure should deliver.

In May 2016, a follow-up report checked on the progress in addressing those issues. Overall, the Auditor-General noted "good progress".

It reported that since 2013, "SCIRT has made solid progress in repairing damaged pipes and roads".

"At the same time, the public entities have improved the governance arrangements over SCIRT. These improvements include clearer roles and responsibilities, more effective guidance and clearer direction to SCIRT, and improvements in reporting."

It also considered the arrangements for transferring assets and information from SCIRT to the Christchurch City Council and the learning and sharing lessons from managing the rebuild of the horizontal infrastructure.

It reported that both arrangements could have long-term benefits, including for the management of assets and future alliances.

"As part of the rebuild, SCIRT collected a wealth of information about pipes and roads owned by the council and NZTA. SCIRT has also set up asset information systems that the council could benefit from. The council has a unique opportunity to improve its understanding of the condition of its assets, which will, in turn, improve its future management of them."

The Auditor-General also recognised SCIRT's "continuous improvement culture that identifies, shares, and applies lessons and innovations".

Glossary terms:

  • CERA: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority
  • NZTA: New Zealand Transport Agency