Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 22 Jan 2016 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    Media Statement 
    16 June 2014

    The draft 2015 Government Policy Statement reaffirms the Governments commitment to transport investment and will continue the countrys progress towards an internationally competitive transport system. But one cant help but wonder whether an opportunity to establish this GPS as the new global benchmark in forward planning has gone begging, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The GPS in fact signals a slight easing of investment, with total targeted expenditure in 2021/2022 $150m less than that projected in 2012, though this figure does not include projects such as Aucklands City Rail Link which, appropriately, is likely to be funded through general Crown accounts. Once included, Government spending on transport over the next decade will be a record breaker.

    Thats good news for commuters and for freight. Lifting investment has had large positive impacts in Auckland, where the first Road of National Significance has already been delivered, and many further regions stand to benefit from improved access over coming years.

    This GPS is also notable for acknowledging the potential for new funding and delivery mechanisms, including road pricing and private finance. These activities are essential to leveraging public investment and improving efficiency over the network.

    But while this draft GPS is, like many of its predecessors, a commendable improvement on previous iterations, it remains a product of the past. It presents a future of conventional road, balanced against traditional safety, public transport and other objectives which are increasingly distant from the transport revolution currently occurring across the world.

    Vehicles that run on electricity, talk to one another and drive themselves are the future. They will be cheaper to run, reduce journey times and offer unprecedented flexibility to meet 21st century needs. They will break down the existing interface between public and private vehicles and revolutionise the way people and societies interact.

    Although these vehicles and other technological advancements remain a long way from car yards, it is imperative that rules, guidelines and institutions are in place to manage their arrival. Establishing this back office support will take time and issues including privacy and vehicle autonomy will have to be tackled in the next decade.

    This GPS can start the transition to a new transport paradigm or it can reproduce past approaches. The promise of transport solutions that are better on the environment, better for people and places and better for business suggests the sooner we in New Zealand look to the future, the better it will be for everyone, Selwood says.

  • 22 Jan 2016 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    Media Statement 
    14 May 2014

    The Public Sector Rebuild Programme of Work released today is a major step forward in Canterbury, says Stephen Selwood of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The Programme of work sets out estimated project costs, timing, sequencing and responsibilities across not just CERA and the city council, but all large public sector service providers in the region.

    It displays graphically and concisely the quantum of investment needed in the region and will give a big lift to industry and property owners unclear until now about the forward work pipeline.

    The Programme shows public construction work building steadily over the next year, to peak around $500m per quarter in late 2015. The fairly rapid decline in activity from late 2016 may be alleviated by deferral of some projects, especially if Christchurch City is forced to moderate some of its earlier aspirations, but sends a clear signal to the market about how they need to manage resources.

    With $7-8 billion of projects identified above and beyond the SCIRT infrastructure rebuild, the scale of just the public sectors commitment to the recovery will reignite some of the interest lost over recent months across New Zealand and internationally. Prior to todays release, poor transparency and unclear public prioritisation have inflated risk profiles beyond perceived return potential resulting in a less positive market response.

    Critical now will be confirming funding, particularly for Christchurch City Councils share, and identifying procurement options.

    Capital requirements across the region are beyond anything seen outside of Auckland, and will have to compete with our biggest and fastest growing region for limited domestic resources.

    Large investors essential to sustaining progress over the long term need clear indication of financial opportunities and timing, something that will be keenly awaited.

    If the Council is unable to fully fund its share of the rebuild, opportunities for private capital investment in anchor projects and / or reallocation of public capital through asset sales should be carefully considered as an alternative.

    "Swapping one asset for another may enable better use of limited public resources," Selwood says.

    The link to the programme is available here: http://cera.govt.nz/recovery-strategy/leadership-and-integration/public-sector-rebuild


  • 22 Jan 2016 11:03 AM | Anonymous

    Hon Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, released a media statement today:

    "Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says feedback provided to the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development (NZCID) by stakeholders in Christchurchs rebuild will help inform the governments ongoing work programme".

    To read the full release: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/nzcid-report-useful-guide-recovery-work


  • 22 Jan 2016 11:02 AM | Anonymous
    Reports show need for improved water service delivery by councils


    Media Statement 

    14 April 2014

    The recent release of the Ministry of Healths Annual Report on Drinking Water Quality and a stormwater report commissioned by the Auckland Council provide two further reminders of the need for better scrutiny and accountability in meeting drinking water, wastewater and stormwater standards in New Zealand, says CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development Stephen Selwood.

    While freshwater issues have succeeded in penetrating the public debate, leading to a number of positive initiatives including the Land and Water Forum and the Land Air Water Aotearoa monitoring website, these reports highlight immediate issues of urban water service quality and accountability which are not receiving the attention they deserve.

    Pleasingly, Local Government New Zealand is leading a project to create a nationwide data framework for water infrastructure which seeks to share best practice, reduce costs and adopt innovative practices in water service delivery. This work needs to be completed with urgency, but ultimately requires a national discussion and Government buy-in to overcome the size of the challenge.

    Consistent with the previous study in 2011/12, the Ministry of Healths latest report reveals, once again, quite serious problems with drinking water in areas serviced by smaller providers. Just 22 per cent of residents living in small water zones of 101-500 people and 37.8 per cent of those in minor zones of 501-5000 people received drinking water that met all national standards.

    That performance can be compared to large zone populations above 10,000, where drinking water met standards for 86.7 per cent of residents.

    "The New Zealand Herald today reported that stormwater performance may in some cases be even worse. Around $10 billion is required to fix Aucklands stormwater system over the next 50 years. In the meantime, runoff from homes, roads and gardens will continue to pollute many popular swimming, food collection and coastal activity areas.

    Both reports provide revealing insights into the reasons why and how New Zealands urban water sector is the worst performing infrastructure category identified in the National Infrastructure Plan 2011.

    But they also suggest potential benefits of scale and specialisation in the provision of water services.

    Aucklands water supply and wastewater services are delivered under a single, vertically integrated provider able to leverage economies of scale to improve strategic capacity, focus and implementation.

    Watercare is, however, unique in the New Zealand context, being empowered through legislation, resourced through metered water charges and directly accountable to deliver water supply and wastewater services.

    As a result, Auckland performs strongly across indices such as water supply. But in a related service activity such as stormwater, where responsibility and accountability is diffused within the council structure and where resourcing is an annual competition for limited funds with transport, parks and other activities, performance is much less exemplary.

    Whether or not stormwater can and should become a function of a dedicated three waters agency like Watercare is unclear, due to the unpriceable nature of stormwater provision. What is demonstrable is that specialised agencies delivering water services at scale are generally more effective than distributed models with complex governance arrangements.

    Such was the finding of the Government-appointed Local Government Infrastructure Efficiency Expert Advisory Group anda 2012 report by PWC and GHD commissioned by NZCID and Water NZ.

    Its positive to see reporting now catching up with performance, but if New Zealand is to really lift its game in the water service sector, a closer look at structures and resourcing models will be required, says Selwood.

  • 22 Jan 2016 11:01 AM | Anonymous
    Reports show need for improved water service delivery by councils


    Media Statement 
    14 April 2014

    The recent release of the Ministry of Healths Annual Report on Drinking Water Quality and a stormwater report commissioned by the Auckland Council provide two further reminders of the need for better scrutiny and accountability in meeting drinking water, wastewater and stormwater standards in New Zealand, says CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development Stephen Selwood.

    While freshwater issues have succeeded in penetrating the public debate, leading to a number of positive initiatives including the Land and Water Forum and the Land Air Water Aotearoa monitoring website, these reports highlight immediate issues of urban water service quality and accountability which are not receiving the attention they deserve.

    Pleasingly, Local Government New Zealand is leading a project to create a nationwide data framework for water infrastructure which seeks to share best practice, reduce costs and adopt innovative practices in water service delivery. This work needs to be completed with urgency, but ultimately requires a national discussion and Government buy-in to overcome the size of the challenge.

    Consistent with the previous study in 2011/12, the Ministry of Healths latest report reveals, once again, quite serious problems with drinking water in areas serviced by smaller providers. Just 22 per cent of residents living in small water zones of 101-500 people and 37.8 per cent of those in minor zones of 501-5000 people received drinking water that met all national standards.

    That performance can be compared to large zone populations above 10,000, where drinking water met standards for 86.7 per cent of residents.

    "The New Zealand Herald today reported that stormwater performance may in some cases be even worse. Around $10 billion is required to fix Aucklands stormwater system over the next 50 years. In the meantime, runoff from homes, roads and gardens will continue to pollute many popular swimming, food collection and coastal activity areas.

    Both reports provide revealing insights into the reasons why and how New Zealands urban water sector is the worst performing infrastructure category identified in the National Infrastructure Plan 2011.

    But they also suggest potential benefits of scale and specialisation in the provision of water services.

    Aucklands water supply and wastewater services are delivered under a single, vertically integrated provider able to leverage economies of scale to improve strategic capacity, focus and implementation.

    Watercare is, however, unique in the New Zealand context, being empowered through legislation, resourced through metered water charges and directly accountable to deliver water supply and wastewater services.

    As a result, Auckland performs strongly across indices such as water supply. But in a related service activity such as stormwater, where responsibility and accountability is diffused within the council structure and where resourcing is an annual competition for limited funds with transport, parks and other activities, performance is much less exemplary.

    Whether or not stormwater can and should become a function of a dedicated three waters agency like Watercare is unclear, due to the unpriceable nature of stormwater provision. What is demonstrable is that specialised agencies delivering water services at scale are generally more effective than distributed models with complex governance arrangements.

    Such was the finding of the Government-appointed Local Government Infrastructure Efficiency Expert Advisory Group anda 2012 report by PWC and GHD commissioned by NZCID and Water NZ.

    Its positive to see reporting now catching up with performance, but if New Zealand is to really lift its game in the water service sector, a closer look at structures and resourcing models will be required, says Selwood.

  • 22 Jan 2016 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Auckland productivity dividend must be realised to justify city shaping infrastructure investment

    Media Statement 
    21 February 2014

    An independent review of Aucklands planning framework by international consulting firm SGS Economics and Planning released today identifies a lack of city shaping infrastructure investment as the principal impediment to achieving a quality compact city. The report recommends that the productivity benefit from investment, demand management and urban intensification needs to establish the case for expanded co-investment and policy reform by Central Government.

    We commissioned this study to gain a better understanding of how successfully programmes, policies and investment plans developed over the past three years by the Council are delivering on the Auckland Plan vision to make the city the Worlds Most Liveable, said Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    SGS found that governance reforms have equipped Auckland with the most evolved metropolitan governance structure of any city in Australasia.

    Auckland has a united voice on regional issues and has the critical mass to make trajectory shifting decisions in its own right.

    The Auckland Plan sets out a compelling and demonstrably achievable vision for Aucklands spatial development.

    However, SGS found that the Auckland Plan objective of a quality compact city was unlikely to be achieved without increased investment in city shaping infrastructure, identification of the means to fund that investment and policy reform to support road pricing and value capture mechanisms.

    On current plans there simply is not sufficient investment in transport infrastructure to support a transition to an efficient and competitive higher density urban form, Selwood said.

    To reverse many decades of low-density, motor-vehicle oriented growth will take much more than the city rail link and other projects prioritised in the Auckland Plan.

    This finding helps explain why transport modelling of future land use and transport investment completed last year showed Aucklands congestion worsening significantly over the course of the next thirty years, even with all proposed investment committed.

    But rather than retracting the compact city vision, SGS call for analysis of the productivity benefit that is expected from urban transformation. Where the Auckland Plan vision can be shown to boost national productivity, GDP and aggregate tax revenues there is a strong case for co-investment from central government. Increased economic performance more generally also substantiates the case for new funding sources, such as road pricing and value capture, which are key to achieving the Auckland Plan vision.

    Better understanding of these benefits may also help foster community and local board support, which has so far been an impediment to the scale of intensification proposed.

    We hope that this report will stimulate a joint Government and Council work programme to identify the productivity dividend that can be achieved through optimal investment in city shaping infrastructure. In NZCIDs view, this requires vast improvement in integrating transport investment and land use development, including more targeted densification to support major investment in public transport, and implementation of road pricing and value capture mechanisms.

    While the united Auckland Council is making great progress, stronger alignment and unity of purpose between central government and the Council is needed if the productive potential of Auckland is to be truly realised, Selwood says.

    To view the report please contact us.

  • 22 Jan 2016 10:53 AM | Anonymous

    Project information and better procurement essential to raising construction productivity and value

    Media Statement 
    16 December 2013

    The Productivity Partnership-commissioned National Construction Pipeline released recently is an important step to understanding the scale of New Zealands building and infrastructure challenge, but to lift the performance of the sector the future work programme must be project specific, well sequenced and utilise best in class procurement capability, says NZ Council for Infrastructure Development chief executive Stephen Selwood.

    Its encouraging to see well-evidenced information being produced and published on the projected value of the forward work programme in key regions and nationally and across residential and non-residential sectors.

    Knowing, for example, that the Canterbury rebuild will likely peak in 2015 and remain elevated until 2018 will give contractors in the region the confidence to take on or up-skill staff, suppliers to gear upandstudents the option to pick up a trade for a very positive period ahead.

    "But bringing projects to market in a well-sequenced cogent programme, making timely decisions, providing transparent communication of information to suppliers and service providers and conforming with stated bidding processes and timelines is also key to unlocking value.

    "Already, there are several instances where investors and major construction firms have made considered decisions to withdraw from the rebuild having to that time funded business development and taken part in market briefings, bid processes and being otherwise prepared to engage in competitive processes.

    "Given the significance of the forward work programme, adopting best practice procurement is critical if the Government and Council are to extract best value for tax payers and rate payers.

    "The Auditor General recently endorsed procurement practices used by the SCIRT alliance (Stronger Canterbury Infrastructure Rebuild Team), and NZ Transport Agency is generally regarded as a leader in procurement of major projects in New Zealand. Both provide good examples to follow.

    "A dedicated high performance procurement agency acting on behalf of both Government and the Christchurch City Council remains an option worthy of consideration - especially noting that CERA has only two years to run under current statutory arrangements.

    On the national front, large contractors and other corporates will be able to use the National Construction Pipeline information to develop strategies for capital raising, product development, labour specialisation and market positioning.

    But if the businesses involved in meeting New Zealands infrastructure, housing and commercial building needs are to have the capacity available when required, much greater transparency at the project level is required.

    The timing of large projects, such as when requests for proposals will be released and what the intended construction timeframes are, as well as potential procurement options, are all essential to a market which has to deal with lumpy, complex investments requiring long lead-in times.

    The market can operate in an environment where projects are announced with little warning, arrive in clusters followed by periods of relative calm and where expectations for finance requirements or project bundling are frequently thwarted.

    But its a question of, at what cost? Boom-bust project procurement is not only inefficient for the industry it results in much higher costs for clients. Firms invest short term, underinvest in training and incur significantly increased costs of scaling up and scaling down to meet market demands. Inevitably prices rise in the boom and firms go bust when the project pipeline stops.

    Since the public sector has long term certainty over revenue sourced from taxes, rates and charges it is in a unique position to plan and implement asset replacement and renewal on a medium term horizon and be ready to profit from counter cyclical investment.

    The better the planning, the better will be the value for money for tax payers and ratepayers.

    Thats why as much detail as possible is required about not only the aggregate value of work expected across the building and construction sector, but also detail about the type and expected timing of projects and how they will be procured.

    A lot of expectation now hangs over the release of Treasurys much anticipated Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan, due out early next year, and continued improvement to procurement in Christchurch, Selwood says.


  • 22 Jan 2016 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    One Hawke's Bay will strengthen local and regional decision making and service delivery

    Media Release
    2014

    Unifying the Hawkes Bays five councils to create a single Hawkes Bay unitary authority supported by nine councillors and 37 local board representatives across five wards will strengthen local decision making and better meet the long term needs of the regional community, says Stephen Selwood of the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development.

    Under existing governance arrangements, ownership and decision making rights and responsibilities are so fractured that they undermine local democracy.

    All residents of the region, for example, share ownership and shape decision making for the Port of Napier, but only the residents of Napier and Hastings possess the same rights over the Hawkes Bay airport. Napier meanwhile, carries responsibility for managing McLean Park and Hastings has to maintain local roads to and around its major manufacturing plants so that residents outside the district can get to work.

    Yet, one would have to question how less dependent a resident of Wairoa is on the airport or why a Central Hawkes Bay rugby fan should be less responsible for maintaining McLean Park.

    Bringing these interdependent entities under a single regional umbrella and recognising the common facilities and activities of residents will enhance regional decision making for everyone in the Hawkes Bay.

    The Hawkes Bay Council, which will include rural and urban representation in proportionate numbers, will be accountable for services to the whole region not just to the urban centres as has been suggested by some local commentators. That will require councillors to recognise and support the interdependency between town and country.

    Local decisions, meanwhile, can be passed over to community boards, strengthening the ability for residents to influence those decisions which truly are theirs to make.

    Restructuring the region as proposed by the Local Government Commission will not just improve democratic decision making, it will also better reflect the economic relationships binding the area.

    The split between the two more urbanised territorial authorities, Napier and Hastings, and the two more rural districts, Wairoa and Central Hawkes Bay, unfairly reflects the important role that the hinterlands play in supporting urban centres and is unhealthy for the future of the region.

    Manufacturing plays a greater role in the Hawkes Bay than in any other region across New Zealand, but that industry is heavily dependent upon produce sourced from rural areas in and around the urban centres.

    It is not economically sustainable to sit back and watch as the Wairoa district loses a further 17 per cent of its population over the next 20 years while Hastings grows almost 10 per cent.

    A central decision making body with the scale and expertise to identify issues, implement solutions and seize opportunities is much better placed to address the long term challenges of the two rural districts and continue to foster growth in Napier and Hastings.

    The Auckland example shows just how much impact a single voice for a region can have on the investment decisions of central government and the attractiveness of a destination for capital. Separate and sometimes opposing tourism, marketing and economic objectives across the Hawkes Bay are fracturing the message conveyed outside the area and reducing investment opportunities.

    What the region sorely needs is strong, unified leadership, a single plan and the capacity to deliver. Current governance arrangements inhibit progress and it is positive to see the Local Government Commission is taking the bold steps necessary to improve the future for all Hawkes Bay residents, Selwood says.


  • 22 Jan 2016 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    One Northland Council a win-win for local decision making and regional prosperity

    Media Statement 
    12 November 2013

    The Local Government Commissions proposal to unify the four councils of Northland to create a single Northland Council unitary authority achieves the best balance between promoting local decision making and meeting the long term needs of the regional community, says Stephen Selwood of the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development.

    Northland is currently confronted with a number of sizeable challenges and the region often features at or near the bottom of national social-economic indices.

    NZCID research shows that lifting regional productivity requires strong central and local government focus and full participation and engagement with the private sector, iwi and local communities.

    It requires leaders committed to long term vision and planning, unity of purpose, ability to fund, effective regulation and the expertise to implement strategy.

    The option proposed today by the Commission will see the Mayor of Northland and nine councillors deliver that leadership and vision in partnership with seven community boards and a Maori Board.

    Community Boards will reflect the diversity of Northland and be empowered to make decisions on matters directly affecting their respective communities.

    A future transition agency will take on the question of whether major council services, such as transport and water, are best performed in-house or by an independent council controlled organisation.

    A single unitary council for Northland provides the best of all worlds the opportunity for unity of purpose focussed on realising the full potential of the region; the development of one regional plan; a single governing body to work in partnership with government and the private sector, the provision of scale in the delivery of roads, water services and regional infrastructure; and most importantly, the retention of strong local democracy and representation for iwi and communities.

    In short, this is a win-win for local decision making and regional prosperity and is a potential template for regions across the country, Selwood says.

  • 22 Jan 2016 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    Media Statement 
    8 November 2013

    "The Government has made the right decision in commissioning an independent assessment of Chorus financial capability to deliver its contractual obligations under the UFB public private partnership," says Stephen Selwood, chief executive of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    "The essential issue here is whether or not Chorus will be able to absorb a $10 per month reduction in copper wholesale pricing, as required by the Commerce Commission, and still deliver ultra-fast broadband to most New Zealanders.

    "There are two conflicting views on this. On the one hand the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing say that Chorus can and should absorb the cost. On the other hand, the Governments partner Chorus says that the lost revenue will have a very significant impact on their capacity to deliver ultra-fast broadband to most of New Zealand as they are contracted to do.

    "If Chorus is right, the cost to all New Zealanders of the loss of social and economic benefits that a delay in UFB roll out would inevitably cause needs to be carefully considered.

    "Also to be weighed in the balance is further write off of shareholder value for over 30,000 kiwi investors and consequential loss of investor and financial market confidence.

    "When the impact of the pricing reduction is clear, significant questions over whether the Commerce Commission pricing determination is reasonable still remain, as does Choruss right to require a full cost review.

    "The Government represents all New Zealanders as a partner with Chorus in the roll out of UFB.

    "The independent review provides Government the opportunity to determine the financial impact on Chorus of the Commerce Commission's decision and inform whether or not and how it might intervene in a way that is in the best long term interests of consumers.

    "At the end of the day, the sooner this issue is resolved, the sooner we can focus on the real opportunity how NZ levers the return from this investment in ultra-fast broadband infrastructure - the better it will be for everyone."

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