NZ Herald »

This article investigates the ways that the benefits of public private partnerships are often overstated while the pitfalls, especially the real risk to the taxpayer, are blurred by the private sector.  Uses the city of Auckland, New Zealand as an example where the private sector is pushing hard to make a case for P3s delivering several key projects. While the offer may be tempting to the city, which has a $400 million shortfall a year for the next thirty years when it comes to infrastructure, the author cautions that the city must look to past experiences and take the private sector’s reports on calculations with a grain of salt. Indeed the taxpayer is never really relieved of the financial risk since it is the taxpayer that funds the repayment of the private investment, and also that the government can borrow money at rates more favorable than the private sector. Goes on to point out that public agencies often lack the resources to effectively manage the complex contracts required of these projects, which often results in less favorable deals for the public.