Australian expert called in to review Transmission Gully


The Government has asked Infracom (New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga) to oversee an urgent and wide-ranging review into the Transmission Gully Project after multiple mistakes and set-backs

Infracom Chief Executive Ross Copland has advised that international expert reviewer Steve Richards has been appointed to lead the review and he will be joined by two New Zealand based peer reviewers, Sir Michael Cullen and Lindsay Crossen.

“We are pleased that Steve has agreed to take the role as lead Reviewer for this important work. He brings considerable expertise to the Review, with over 25 years’ experience on major road and rail projects in Australia.”

Richards was chosen because there is a need for highly specialised skills and experience, the short time frame for an appointment, availability of our experts, and the need for independence from the New Zealand market.


Peer Reviewers Sir Michael Cullen and Lindsay Crossen will provide assistance throughout the Review, including giving advice on New Zealand’s contracting practices and construction market.

“Infracom is in a unique position where it can look to provide independent expertise and grow the capability for how government procures and delivers infrastructure projects and I am looking forward to bringing my insights to the table to assist,” says Sir Michael Cullen.

Lindsay Crossen is delighted to be part of the panel and is confident in their ability to provide a meaningful and in-depth assessment of the progress of the Transmission Gully project to date.

“Project reviews allow Infracom and our stakeholders to learn from the successes and challenges of real projects, delivered in real-world conditions,” says Copland.

“Infracom’s purpose is to deliver a step-change in infrastructure planning and delivery – a challenge we don’t take lightly, so we will take a keen interest in the findings of this review.

“Projects with the scale and complexity of Transmission Gully generally produce very valuable insights and lessons for future improved project procurement and delivery. The findings are likely to help improve and calibrate risk evaluation models, business cases, procurement and consenting strategies and many other important facets for major project delivery.”

The Review follows the announcement last month by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones that the Infracom would oversee an interim review into the Transmission Gully Project.

The review began this month and is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2021.

The terms of reference are publicly available and can be viewed here.