Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 25 Oct 2016 3:52 PM | Anonymous

    New Zealand's peak infrastructure body, the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development has relaunched as Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "Infrastructure New Zealand better reflects the wide range of priorities facing the organisation today, including transport funding, project procurement and regional governance and planning reform," says Infrastructure New Zealand chief executive Stephen Selwood.

    "When NZCID was created 12 years ago, New Zealand's infrastructure challenges were of a different kind. We had severely under-invested in assets critical for economic and social development for a generation. We needed investment and we needed it urgently. Our entire organisational focus was on infrastructure development.

    "Pleasingly, as a country we have since tackled many of our most urgent priorities. We've invested in our electricity backbone, ramped up investment in transport networks across the country and transformed our telecommunications sector from a global laggard to world leader, for example.

    "But significant opportunities for improvement remain.

    "Lifting capability in public procurement of major projects has potential to save the country billions of dollars over coming years. Getting land use and pricing right could make our transport dollars go much further – especially in Auckland. Revising infrastructure responsibilities so that asset owners have the resources and capability to deliver could see a step change in service delivery in the provinces.

    "Our new name - Infrastructure New Zealand – better encapsulates our role as New Zealand’s peak infrastructure industry body.

    "Our immediate priorities will be to focus on the really challenging issues that continue to hold New Zealand back including:

    - The need for reform of our planning laws and institutions to better align infrastructure planning, funding and delivery
    - The need to shift to road pricing to fund much needed transport investment and manage traffic demand more effectively
    - Lifting procurement capability across the industry
    - Accelerating the use of private capital to deliver better outcomes across the sector

    "The new logo represents a connected New Zealand. It symbolises networks across transport, energy, water, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

    "It also symbolises our strong desire for effective partnerships between the public and private sectors to deliver better outcomes for all of New Zealand," says Selwood.

    Infrastructure New Zealand can be found at www.infrastructure.org.nz and contacted at 09 377 5570.



  • 20 Oct 2016 10:30 AM | Anonymous

     "Introduction of dynamic motorway tolls in Auckland would help decongest our road network and provide the quickest, most efficient and most equitable way to bridge the annual $400m transport investment funding gap", said Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    "Speaking at the annual Building Nation’s Symposium in Auckland this morning, Selwood shared the business sector’s concern that the proposed timeframe for addressing Auckland’s transport issues was far too long.

    "A 10 year wait for road pricing as suggested in the recent Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) report leaves the agreed investment programme $4 billion short and, if not addressed urgently, congestion will become chronic.

    "An immediate solution to funding and congestion is required.

    "Introducing a dynamic toll on the motorway system at a price which maximises traffic flows would allow more traffic to use the motorway at faster speeds, providing a direct benefit to users, and help bridge the $4 billion ten-year funding gap.

    "The optimum speed which maximises traffic flows is between 80km/h and 60 km/h. At those speeds you can travel 20 kilometres on the motorway in just 15 or 20 minutes.

    "When speeds rise above 80 km/hr, safe drivers increase the gap between themselves and the car in front. While travel times are faster, the overall traffic flow is reduced.

    "And when speeds drop to just 20 km/h - the typical average speed in the morning and evening peaks - it takes an hour to drive the same twenty kilometres.

    "That’s a waste of everyone’s time and money and is a huge cause of frustration for Aucklanders.
    Dynamic tolling would allow authorities to adjust the price up and down to maximise traffic flow on the motorway and reduce demand on local roads.

    "Those who choose to pay benefit from a faster trip. Those who don’t have options to drive free on other roads, take public transport, walk or cycle. Others may choose to share their car to reduce the cost of the toll or travel at different times.

    "Motorists will set the price by their collective action.

    "A system like this could be introduced within a few years using existing number plate recognition technology – like we have on the Northern Gateway toll road. There’s no need for a tracking device in every car or satellites in the sky to implement such a scheme.

    "Motorists will be advised of the current price on their phones before they leave. Variable message signs would also inform motorists well before they reach the motorway on-ramps.
    Revenue from the tolls would be used to bridge the $400 million per annum funding gap identified by ATAP.

    "Encouragingly, a 2015 Colmar Brunton survey of 5000 Aucklanders found 57 per cent preferred the use of motorway tolls to fund transport investment than rates and fuel taxes.

    "A dynamic tolling system on the motorway will raise the funds needed for investment, without disincentivising travel and provide users a direct benefit in travel time savings. A “win-win” solution," Selwood says.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen on 021-791 209.


  • 19 Oct 2016 1:10 PM | Anonymous

    PwC Report, ‘Valuing the role of construction in the New Zealand economy’ shows construction similar to value of the wine industry at 8% GDP

    The PwC report released today called  ‘Valuing Construction in the NZ Economy’,  sees construction  leap into the fifth largest sector by employment (178,000 FTEs) and contribute 8% of the country’s GDP  - establishing its place as a major generator of NZ economic growth.

    The report, commissioned by the Construction Strategy Group (CSG) and the NZ Construction Industry Council (NZCIC), highlights the extent to which the construction sector is a driving force in the New Zealand economy and where both future opportunities and challenges lie.  Crucially the PwC report makes a series of key recommendations (for Government, Industry and consumers) covering changes that would improve the productivity and performance of the industry in order to better sustain its long term growth.

    Download the report here


  • 10 Oct 2016 3:29 PM | Anonymous

    New Zealand’s peak infrastructure industry conference, the NZCID Building Nations Symposium, will bring over 400 industry leaders together in Auckland next week to debate infrastructure of the future.

    "With the world in a constant state of change, there has never been a more poignant moment to look to the future and see what it means for infrastructure," says NZ Council for Infrastructure Development chief executive Stephen Selwood.

    "Digital technologies provide a platform for an array of opportunities we are only beginning to understand. Autonomous vehicles have received plenty of attention, but just as important are the systems which will connect driverless cars to each other, to traffic signals and to authorities monitoring and operating the road network.

    "The shift away from fossil fuels will revolutionise movement, as well as electricity demand and leading energy companies are already preparing for a future where solar and batteries complement transmission and distribution.

    "Increasing digital communication capabilities are already shortening the distance between New Zealand and the world, opening up new industry opportunities to supplant employment in sectors soon to see a robotic revolution.

    "Bringing all these technologies into the built environment and smartening up our cities is going to be a rapidly evolving public sector. Tailoring procurement, attracting investment and removing regulatory impediments to social, economic and environmental progress will be key challenges for public agencies over coming decades.

    "A fantastic line up of speakers will seek to inspire visionary thinking and examine the infrastructure implications of future mobility, infrastructure funding, the future of work, smart cities and smart infrastructure," Selwood says.

    Key note speakers include:

    • Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Bill English who will set out Future Capital Intentions for the New Zealand Government;
    • Transport Minister the Hon Simon Bridges and the Secretary General of the International Transport Forum will discuss transport infrastructure of the future;
    • Dave Ferguson, President, Nuro and former Principal Engineer, Computer Vision and Machine Learning Lead for Google Self-Driving Cars will present on future mobility and the impact of driverless cars;
    • Chief Executives of the major public and private sector infrastructure companies in New Zealand will discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by global trends in technology, demographics, energy and climate change;
    • Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, will present Labour’s vision for infrastructure
    • The new Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff will set out his plans for the super city.

    The NZCID Building Nations Symposium will be held next week in Auckland at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre on the 20th and 21st October.

    Details are available here or at www.nzcid.org.nz/buildingnations.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen on 021 791 209.

    ENDS




  • 30 Sep 2016 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The much anticipated Auckland Transport Alignment Project final report released this afternoon underlines the scale of Aucklands growth challenge and signals an opportunity to better integrate transport and development in our largest and fastest growing city, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The landmark ATAP process has aligned central and local governments approach to transport in our largest city. Positively, we now have agreement across key agencies as to what the transport problem in Auckland is, what sort of response is required and how much it will cost.

    However, the agreed findings are cause for some considerable concern.

    Congestion has slowed speeds on the Auckland motorway by 9 per cent in just the last three years. The best case scenario is that congestion across the network will decline ten per cent more over the next decade before road pricing is introduced.

    If an additional $4 billion of investment cannot be found, congestion will worsen by closer to 20 per cent.

    Even with the delivery of the CRL, AMETI and new priorities in the form of a north-western busway and extension to the northern busway, public transport mode share will barely exceed 10 per cent during the morning peak by 2026.

    Despite this growth in public transport, little new capacity has been identified for the strategic road network beyond some limited widening. This means that the next million people to Auckland are expected to be accommodated on the existing motorway network, with only the extension north of uhoi, an East-West expressway across Onehunga and a new harbour crossing in the third decade.

    It is difficult to see how Aucklands road network, which is declining so rapidly today, can accommodate the weight of 30 years more growth.

    ATAP proposes addressing this problem by levying congestion charges of up to 30 cents per kilometre across the isthmus in peak periods in place of petrol tax. But this does not address the funding challenge and raises significant political and equity issues, which still have to be resolved.

    Perhaps the biggest question left open by ATAP, however, is just why a three-fold increase in transport spending in the last decade has resulted in such a rapid decline in congestion performance.

    The answer to that question remains outside the studys terms of reference, but is the direct consequence of dis-integrated planning statutes which has allow growth to occur out of step with transport investment.

    The Unitary Plan has very successfully provided the development capacity Auckland needs, but was not under any requirement to target that growth into areas where it could be serviced by transport.

    ATAP and our wider transport agencies must now meet growth across all parts of the city at once and its not surprising that budgets cant keep up.

    The ATAP work provides a compelling need to identify how we can target growth in Auckland to avoid severe transport challenges in the short and medium term.

    Government and Council need to be partnering with private developers to up the scale and lower the building costs of new homes near rapid transit to take pressure off locations without transport options or road capacity.

    The current allowance of growth across the city will, without concerted focus from all parts of government, overwhelm transport systems and budgets and we must act quickly to avoid undermining the citys productivity and livability, Selwood says.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen on 021 791 209

    ENDS


  • 28 Sep 2016 7:15 PM | Anonymous

    Ground-breaking research on how the current resource management system is failing the environment was released today [28 September 2016]

    Download report here

    The research commissioned by the EMA, New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, Property Council New Zealand and conducted by the Environmental Defence Society (EDS), revealed that the environmental outcomes of the Resource Management Act (RMA) have not met expectations.

    In a surprising twist, four very different and diverse organisations are united in the view that the RMA and wider resource management system is not delivering for the environment nor for business.

    The research, conducted by EDS Senior Policy Analyst Dr Marie Brown, revealed that 81% of respondents believed the environment had declined since 1991.

    While the business side of the argument was well developed and the business industry organisations had strongly advocated that the current system was a handbrake on development and productivity, what was missing from the conversation was an empirical element relating to the environmental impact.

    The ground-breaking EDS research found that the RMA had not met the environmental outcomes expected of it, and that the wider issue of how the nation’s resources are managed was suboptimal.

     A little more than one third of respondents said the RMA had not achieved its environmental goals, while the majority felt it had only been partly successful in doing so.

     A lack of national direction has limited the potential of the resource management system to effectively and efficiently achieve its environmental goals.

     "We undertook this research on the basis that the commissioning parties accepted the proposition that we need to manage natural resources subject to environmental bottom lines and limits. So getting an understanding of how well the present system delivers on that aspiration seemed a useful contribution to the wider reform discussions," says Gary Taylor, Chief Executive, Environmental Defence Society.

     "It’s time to put the party politics aside, and have a mature debate about how we as a nation want to effectively manage our resources to fully protect the environment and drive productivity. There is no quick fix solution on offer here. The issues are much wider than the Act itself. They include other planning laws, institutional arrangements, capacity and resourcing. Tinkering with the RMA will not address these issues - a wider systemic review is needed," says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive, New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

     "The Property Council has always known the RMA is failing cities and our long standing experiences of the housing crisis nationwide confirms this. The report validates that this failure extends to the natural environment as well. Our opinion is firm, a comprehensive review of the environmental protection and urban planning is needed so they succeed together," says Connal Townsend, Chief Executive, Property Council New Zealand.

     "What’s important is that we, as a nation, need to seriously explore the options for change and not just rush to ill-informed solutions. The options may be legislative, they may be institutional and they may be around process - whatever they are it’s important that we marshal a new era for resource management," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.

  • 27 Sep 2016 11:54 AM | Anonymous

    "Further improving the Government's housing reform programme requires clarity of vision, specificity on outcomes sought, a clear development pipeline, reduced bid costs and long-term certainty of revenue streams," says Stephen Selwood, CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    "That was the key message delivered to a who's who of New Zealand's assisted housing market Tuesday night in Auckland.

    "The state housing model we pursued for many decades is not working. Assets are sitting under-utilised or are in poor condition and the people living in these often damp and badly configured homes have no pathway to housing independence.

    "The Government, community housing associations, development community and housing investors all agree there is an opportunity to expand the supply of housing for those who cannot participate in the open market, while better meeting their housing needs.

    "The ultimate goal is to deliver affordability to more people, and assist those who are ready to move from state dependence to independent living, but for that to occur, existing state housing tenants need support.

    "Thats where the community housing sector can play a vital role. But in order to get community housing off the ground, the largely non-profit and consequently under-capitalised sector needs long term revenue certainty and its investment partners need a steady flow of opportunities in order to sustain a market.

    "The Government has spent the last few years building up its capacity to oversee a growing community housing sector and there is a strong desire from housing providers that we quickly transition to a pipeline of development opportunities.

    "For this to happen, there is a need for clarity of vision, clear and long term planning by government, reduced costs of bidding and, of greatest importance, certainty over revenue streams to provide investment confidence. This will release private capital to build more homes.

    "Changing policies from one government to the next undermines the sustainability of social housing and the industry calls on all parties to build a consensus around the long term development of the community housing sector," Selwood says.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen on 021 791 209.

    ENDS


  • 14 Sep 2016 7:07 PM | Anonymous

    The announcement that the Auckland Council and the Government have reached an agreement on funding and governance of the $3 billion City Rail Link is a major step forward in the delivery of New Zealand's largest ever public transport project," says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The agreement, which clarifies role responsibilities and cost sharing, will allow the project to progress into construction, ready for operation in 2023.

    The partnership reflects the significant benefit of focussed regional leadership and a unified council structure.

    It is difficult to see how agreement to progress a project of this scale and tomorrow's scheduled release of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) final report could have been possible without governance reform in Auckland.

    A united Auckland has called upon the Government to respond to a regional priority and enabled a single interface to negotiate a comprehensive delivery arrangement.

    With funding confirmed, central agencies can work with the council's transport arm, Auckland Transport, to ensure the project is delivered efficiently and effectively.

    As the lead client organisation, CRL Limited will now be in a position to undertake proactive market engagement to ensure the right skills can be sourced and project risks allocated optimally.

    New Zealand has not delivered a project of this scale and complexity before and there is significant interest from both here and overseas.

    Given the risk of operating a construction project of this size in a CBD environment, attracting the best capability will be essential. Transferring too much risk to private partners will result in price increase, while not enough will reduce the incentive to maximise project opportunities.

    One major such opportunity regards urban redevelopment around stations to offset some of the capital or longer term operational costs of the project.

    Providing the very best governance capability in the Special Purpose Entity overseeing project delivery will be central to ensuring success," Selwood says.

    For further comment please contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209.

    ENDS


  • 19 Aug 2016 7:02 PM | Anonymous

    In its blue sky review of the New Zealand planning system, the Productivity Commission has correctly found that the planning system is failing, but their recommendations for change will not succeed without governance and funding reform, says Stephen Selwood chief executive of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The Commission observes that the principal planning laws the Resource Management Act 1991, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Land Transport Management Act 2005 are now complex to the point of incoherence and that New Zealands urban planning system overall lacks clarity, focus, responsiveness and is not achieving its objectives.

    Their identification of the primary purpose of urban development planning enabling development and change; providing development capacity; and ensuring people and goods can move around is especially welcome.

    The Commissions frank assessment that the urban planning system is failing is clearly evidenced by house prices at unacceptably high levels and chronic congestion in our largest city. But unbalanced regional development and poor environmental outcomes across New Zealand demonstrate that the problems are much broader.

    The reality is that we have not managed development, growth or cumulative effects on the environment well in New Zealand for a very long time.

    Looking to the future, the Commissions recommendations for spatial planning and pricing on land and infrastructure will be essential to successfully reforming the planning system, but it is difficult to see how these changes can take place in the absence of an honest discussion around funding and responsibility.

    Fragmented governance prevents effective spatial planning. How can development be allocated if individual councils responsible for funding infrastructure do not have the resources or desire to accommodate growth?

    How can an individual council be forced to provide for growth and reprioritise existing investments in accordance with a wider vision?

    Who benefits and who should pay when a council on one side of town provides for growth, while another on the opposite side shirks its responsibility on the basis of residential opposition or refuses to fund the required infrastructure?

    Spatial planning cannot take place on a sub-regional scale. It cannot be effective unless the plan can be supported by infrastructure. And no regional spatial plan will succeed unless the biggest infrastructure and service provider central government participates in plan development and explicitly commits to funding services in agreement with the plan.

    The planning, governance and funding of urban growth and regional development cannot be reformed in isolation.

    The Commission has comprehensively demonstrated that planning is not functioning effectively in New Zealand. But, in addition to fixing the planning laws, a much more fundamental review of local and central government responsibilities, structures and funding will be needed to address the core problems that have been identified, Selwood says.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen on 021 791 209.

    ENDS


  • 19 Aug 2016 1:02 PM | Anonymous

    The 15 year regeneration of the defence estate announced today provides an example of effective investment management that other public agencies should replicate, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The Defence Estate Regeneration Plan identifies a $1.7 billion capital works programme over the next 15 years, including detailed project pipeline to 2022.

    Following up on the strategic White Paper released earlier this year, the regeneration plan provides estimates of capital allocations by area, giving clarity to local as well as national contractors about what is required in the short-medium term.

    Acknowledging weak asset management in the past, Defence will adopt an integrated approach to renewing assets across its 81,000 hectare estate, including outsourcing and alternate delivery models on a project-by-project basis.

    This is textbook asset management and must be commended.

    While Defence may be one of our more capable investment managers, as revealed through Treasurys Investor Confidence Rating Scheme, it has also clearly benefitted from strong Government funding commitment.

    Not every Government agency is in a position to impartially review its assets, identify weaknesses and book a 15 year regeneration programme.

    Instead, we often see major asset owners reliant on annual funding commitments which rise and fall with the economy and having to compete other public agencies within budget constraints.

    In such an environment, it is virtually impossible to manage assets efficiently or signal future capacity requirements to key suppliers. New projects are cut according to budget provisions, undermining whole-of-life project evaluation, and maintenance is deferred until such time as funding is available, even if that means a higher final cost to the taxpayer.

    The Defence regeneration plan demonstrates what public agencies with future funding confidence and a long term planning horizon can achieve.

    It is vitally important that this confidence is not shaken by unexpected funding revisions in the future and that other sectors are given similar operational support to honestly review their assets, develop and publish a long term asset management plan and deliver on that plan over the long term, Selwood says.

    A copy of the Defence regeneration plan can be found here.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen Selwood on 021- 791 209.


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