Amid the sea of confusing acronyms, one just won’t go away; PPPs, or public private partnerships.

For Governments, the appeal is obvious.  Access to private capital for public infrastructure development, private sector management efficiencies, a potential long term infrastructure investment vehicle for members of the public, enhancement of capital markets and all the economic benefits that accelerated infrastructure development brings with it.

Yet, New Zealand has been slow to join the UK and much of Australia in leaping aboard the PPP bandwagon.  With a certain air of inevitability, the Government’s announcement on Wednesday suggests that all that is about to change.

So, what are PPPs, and why are they so useful?

This paper was prepared in response to the Government’s announcement on 11 August 2010 that  public agencies proposing projects with a whole-of-life cost of more than $25 million will consider and evaluate alternative procurement options including public private partnerships (PPP).