The April 2024 Āpōpō Member Sentiment Survey ranks improved executive/ elected member recognition of asset management criticality as the highest importance for improving asset management in Aotearoa.

Respondents were asked to rank asset management practices that would improve infrastructure in Aotearoa.

The top three responses were:

  1. Executive/elected member recognition of asset management criticality (#1 for 35% of respondents)
  2. Improved asset data quality
  3. Increased reliability of planning direction across election cycles

In the words of one respondent “The competency of those already in the higher positions determines a lot of other factors and ability to influence executive and elected members”.

This supports the results of a new survey question which shows both increased funding for infrastructure and raising asset management competence as being critical for improving overall asset management practices.

Ranked Asset Management Priorities for New Zealand’s Future

No respondents who work in roading ranked increased funding for new infrastructure as the top priority, where as 8% of those in waters ranked it as the top priority. Many of those working in waters also ranked new finance sources for infrastructure as the number one priority, 50% more than those in roading.

In this survey we also asked how effective asset management practices are within the respondent’s organisation.

How Effective are the Asset Management Practices of the Organisation?

3.0 average rating

The average across all respondents was 3 stars. 35% of respondents rated waters asset management as less than 2 stars out of 5 stars, compared to roading with 58% giving a 4 star+ rating.


Comparing to November 2023 Survey Responses

This second sentiment survey in our ongoing series, shows an increase in those who believe we do not have sufficient capability to manage infrastructure assets, increasing to 76% from 73% in November 2023.

68% of respondents said that New Zealand’s infrastructure had not improved in the last year. That was a slight decrease from 72% in November 2023. Those who worked in roading were more positive than those working in waters. 37% of those who responded who work in roading said our infrastructure had improved in the last 12 months. Waters represented a majority of the ‘don’t know’ responses. This difference in response is unsurprising given those working in waters continue to face ongoing reform and uncertainty.

When asked “is there sufficient capability (ie capacity and competency) available to manage New Zealand’s infrastructure assets?” 76.5% of respondents said no, which is 4.5% more than November 2023.

This increase is also unsurprising given the squeeze on budgets in local government resulting in staff cut-backs and restructuring, along with less funding from central government, reducing the capacity needed to manage our infrastructure assets than in November 2023.

The differences between the November 2023 results and April 2024 may be a reflection of having more certainty than in November when the government was still being formed.

Āpōpō continues to offer professional development to increase skills and capability of asset management practitioners and works with stakeholders to focus this on the industry’s needs.

The survey results back-up branch event workshops which discussed current challenges and what Āpōpō and practitioners could do to address these. Some of the suggestions coming from the branch event workshops included; working closely with LGNZ and the Institute of Directors, providing fact-based and national advice on asset management, and comparing New Zealand to other countries.

Another recommendation was to use ‘warm fuzzy’ emotive storytelling from the bottom up: your teams sharing their challenges and successes. Āpōpō continues to advocate for asset management with stakeholders and offers digital badges to up-skill practitioners in a range of topics, including storytelling.

About the Survey

We received 81 responses to our second member sentiment survey which ran from April 10th until April 19th. Five of the questions asked in this second sentiment survey were the same as the first survey held in November 2023, and five were new questions.

78% of those who responded worked in local government, and 18.5% in central government.

In terms of the area of work of respondents, the largest groups were 47% working in water and 23.5% in roading.

The next Āpōpō member sentiment survey will be held in July 2024.