Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA RELEASES

Our media releases keep you up to date with the latest infrastructure developments in New Zealand.

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  • 28 Jun 2018 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s Policy Statement on Transport confirms record investment over the next decade, but with capital investment levels half what they are in Australia, ongoing congestion, housing unaffordability and constrained economic growth will continue,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The final GPS for Transport released today locks in record transport spending of $4 billion moving to $4.7 billion per annum over the next decade, supported by new fuel levies.

    “The funding certainty this provides to the New Zealand Transport Agency, councils and transport industry is welcome and it’s clear that the Government is doing as much as it feasibly can with existing transport tools.

    “But it’s not enough. In fact, it’s well short.

    “New South Wales has announced a A$14.7 billion transport capital programme for the 2018/19 financial year.

    “By comparison, just $2 billion - $3 billion of GPS spending this year will be focused on improving transport networks.

    “Even after top-ups from the consolidated account to pay for Auckland’s City Rail Link and council expenditure, New Zealand’s investment in transport improvements will be half what the New South Wales government alone is doing on a per capita basis.

    “This is why New Zealand’s cities are among the most congested for their size in the developed world and it is why we can’t unlock enough land to house our population.

    “It is also why nothing is going to change, in spite of record investment, until we change the way we plan, fund and deliver transport.

    “Asking road users to cover the cost of projects increasingly oriented towards urban development separates those funding improvements from those who will benefit – landowners.

    “Constraining investment to levels road users are prepared to tolerate holds back the economy and urban development.

    “We need to double investment if we are serious about tackling congestion, improving safety and delivering homes.

    “Projects with strong benefit-cost ratios and significant strategic benefits need to be accelerated.

    “Major transport projects need to be debt financed. It is not realistic to fund a long-term investment programme by an annual allocation from road user charges.

    “Debt should be repaid by beneficiaries – road users, property owners and the Government via GST, income and corporate taxes which grow with the economy.

    “A shift to road pricing would not only provide the mechanism to fund needed investment, it would also manage congestion much more effectively.

    “Record transport investment is a step in the right direction, but New Zealand remains a giant leap behind our competitors.

    “If we want to change our transport performance, we need to change our outdated and restrictive transport funding system,” Selwood says. 

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 14 Jun 2018 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE 

    “New Zealand’s urban growth system is broken and must be revised to incentivise cities to grow and city leaders must be given the flexibility and tools they need to succeed,” says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “We took 42 public and private sector infrastructure leaders to Portland, Denver, Dallas and Houston – four big, fast-growing cities facing the same challenges as New Zealand cities, but with different economic, social and environmental outcomes.  

    “The US cities may not be able to match New Zealand centres for liveability, but they do know how to grow. Homes are being built, roads and public transport are being delivered and homelessness is down by a third in the last decade.

    “The key to US success is an urban growth system which is incentivised to want growth and has the tools and flexibility to overcome challenges.

    “The metro areas of the US, including the constituents and governments, benefit from growth. Sales and income taxes complement property taxes. More homes, residents and investment means more revenue for local authorities. Federal and state agencies sweeten the deal with grants and funds to encourage performance.

    “America’s thin welfare net doubles the importance of successful urban performance – if cities don’t grow and succeed, homelessness, unemployment and social costs fall much more heavily on local institutions.

    “Cities are not only better incentivised, they have the ability to respond.

    “Different revenue streams provide flexibility of funding. Innovative financing is used to transfer the costs of infrastructure to beneficiaries who repay debt over the long term. Regional governments evolve to meet city-wide challenges, special purpose infrastructure districts fill resourcing gaps.

    “New Zealand’s urban growth system, by comparison, is poorly incentivised. Central government captures the tax benefits of growth, leaving councils reluctant to invest in costly upfront infrastructure.

    “Councils that try to grow have to rely on rates paid by those with homes in order to fund services for those without homes. Debt ceilings constrain finance and hard regulatory instruments become the preferred tool to manage growth.

    “Overdependence on urban boundaries and density restrictions has undermined competitive land markets, preventing affordable housing, and there are no price signals to ratepayers about the consequence of council policies.

    “Overall, the American system is far more collaborative, innovative, aspirational and effective at responding to growth.

    “We simply must revise our governance responsibilities and funding. It is not working having a multiplicity of small councils with limited capability manage limited funds for such an important task.

    “We must re-gear local governance so that local authorities benefit from growth and have the tools to respond. A review of local government funding and responsibilities should be launched as part of the review of planning statute and alongside the Tax Working Group.

    “In the meantime, central government has to intervene with grants and transfers, like the Provincial Growth Fund and city and regional deals which allocate funding to councils who support economic and urban growth.

    “Responsibility for financing costly growth infrastructure needs to shift away from ratepayers. Activities which provide a revenue stream, including water services and toll roads can be used to finance investment without compromising council borrowing costs. Crown Infrastructure Partners needs to have a wider scope to finance infrastructure delivery and rate future property owners.

    “If we combine these measures with emerging urban development authority legislation and get on with delivering attractive new cities and centres, like a satellite city in south Auckland, we can remove planning regulations and allow competitive land markets to deliver housing New Zealanders can afford," Selwood says.

    A full copy of the Infrastructure New Zealand report on findings from a delegation to the USA can be found here.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 18 May 2018 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    A panel of experts spoke to Mike Hosking about what the key sectors are expecting from this year's budget. Listen to Stephen's interview here.

  • 17 May 2018 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Ardern-led Government’s first Budget has followed through on well-signalled investments in transport, housing, education and health, but greater use of private investment will be needed to get overall investment to the level required,” says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Additional capital investment of $750 million in hospitals, $400 million in schools and the $300 million Canterbury acceleration programme is in line with pre-Budget commitments and will go some way to addressing immediate needs, such as at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland and continuing the Christchurch rebuild.

    “Confirmation too that transport spending and the Provincial Growth Fund will be resourced as indicated is welcome. However, just one third of the Provincial Fund is committed to capital projects with a significant part of the balance going to tree planting.

    “Funding has been confirmed for the design of a new Dunedin Hospital, but there is no specific allocation to construction, despite the decision not to proceed with a public private partnership.

    A $200 million commitment has been made to the delivery of rapid-build modular units for prisons but there is no provision for the major new prison at Waikeria that has been in planning.

    “One of the most encouraging Budget announcements is that arms-length government bodies like Housing New Zealand, NZ Transport Agency and Crown Infrastructure Partners are to be given the flexibility to raise debt, beginning the long-overdue shift away from “pay-go” funding for large, lumpy capital projects.   

    “Housing NZ alone will be able to borrow up to $3 billion to get on with delivering safe, warm homes.

    “The initiative should help speed up decision making, give greater certainty to the forward pipeline and facilitate engagement with industry.

    “Much wider use of this type of model is required to deliver Kiwibuild over the next decade, including the billions of dollars of infrastructure needed to support 100,000 homes.

    “No Budget allocation is clear yet regarding a specialised infrastructure agency, but it is just this sort of entity which would facilitate effective use of debt in the delivery of the Government’s large capital programme,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209


  • 15 May 2018 11:36 AM | Anonymous

    Read the article and listen to Stephen's interview here.

  • 10 May 2018 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s announcement that this year’s Budget will allocate $42 billion to capital investment over 5 years will provide a welcome boost for regional and urban development, but speed in establishing a specialised strategic procurement agency is now a priority to ensure projects are sequenced and delivered at best value,” said Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Details of the exact programme will become clear on Budget day, but with major investment needs in health, education, justice, housing and of course transport, the challenge for the Government will be getting best value out of its programme.

    “There is a risk that costs will inflate if project sequencing stretches the market by location, portfolio or skillset.

    “A carefully-conceived project pipeline, developed with the industry and comprising the full spectrum of central and local government major projects, is essential to delivering a programme this large.

    “Just as important will be the way in which projects are procured.

    “Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones’ procurement agency idea now takes on immediate priority, not only to develop the project pipeline but also to ensure that hospitals, schools, roads, railways and other infrastructure are delivered on time, to specification and to budget.

    “Recent reports that the SuperFund has made an unsolicited bid to deliver light rail in Auckland underline how sophisticated major project procurement has become.

    “It’s great news that investors are looking at national infrastructure as an investment opportunity and we need serious expertise across government to ensure this type of approach will be a success.

    “A specialised procurement agency will consolidate public procurement expertise and enable the 5 year $42 billion pipeline to be delivered in a way which benefits all New Zealanders,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 10 May 2018 3:55 PM | Anonymous

    Listen to Stephen's interview here

  • 26 Apr 2018 3:57 PM | Anonymous

    Listen to Stephen's interview here

  • 17 Apr 2018 12:16 PM | Anonymous

    The New Zealand Government has restated its committed to resolving congestion and other transport issues in Auckland and across the country. It is widely agreed that conventional funding and financing tools are inadequate to address both the backlog of investment and respond to strong growth. 

    Infrastructure New Zealand welcomes news that the Government is actively investigating alternative procurement options, including Public-Private Partnerships, to enable major projects to proceed. 

    More information can be obtained here.  


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