Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA RELEASES

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

  • 08 Sep 2017 3:18 PM | Anonymous


    The release today of the National Party’s transport policy provides the opportunity to compare its priorities with those of the Labour Party, announced last month.

    The majority of investment from the National Party has been dedicated to state highway and regional road improvements across the country, along with continued investment in growing public transport. 

    National has today confirmed its previous announcement that will deliver a $10.5 billion addition to the state highway network through a revamped Roads of National Significance programme.

    An additional $600 million will be spent on road safety improvements and earthquake-affected Kaikoura roads will be rebuilt. Penlink and the billion dollar Mill Rd project in Auckland will be delivered as state highways. National has not specified a figure, but has indicated it will accelerate regional road projects, and points to its previous record of investing $200 million to do so.

    In contrast, Labour is placing most of its investment on inter-regional rail services and investment in light rail in Auckland.

    It has committed to kicking-off a rapid regional passenger service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, completing a third rail line in Auckland and retaining electrification between Hamilton and Palmerston North. Should evidence support it, Labour will look to electrify other key parts of the rail network and reopen mothballed lines.

    Labour will invest an extra $3.3 billion in light rail and busways in Auckland over the next 20 years, but will dial back the East West Link connecting Auckland’s motorways. It will commit $100 million to Christchurch public transport and consider light rail for Wellington.

    Labour has not announced any further capacity or safety improvements for the state highway network, but has committed to quickly rebuilding the Manawatu Gorge Rd. It is not clear whether planned projects state highway improvements, including the Warkworth to Wellsford Road of National Significance, will be delivered.

    However, Labour has made more funding available for transport projects of regional importance by doubling the funding range of $70-$140m to $140-$280m.

    National has committed to the delivery of the third main trunk line in Auckland, as well as to rebuild rail infrastructure affected by the Kaikoura earthquake. It is also investing $267 million over three years in Auckland and Wellington commuter rail and will work with Auckland Council on a mass transit solution between the CBD and Auckland Airport and complete route protection.

    Labour has not specified funding for cycling and walking, but has indicated that both, along with rail, will be eligible to apply to the NLTF for national funding.

    National will continue to implement its $333 million cycling programme.

    National has also indicated that it will support coastal shipping, increase electric vehicle uptake and strengthen airport links.

    Labour has not announced policies on electric vehicles or airport links, but has committed to developing a national freight and national ports strategy and will move to implement the ‘Sea Change’ strategy to revitalise coastal shipping.

    Funding these improvements looks set to exhaust the National Land Transport Fund. Labour has indicated that it will levy a 10 cents per litre fuel tax in Auckland to fund its programme. National will fund its investment from existing sources and continue investigating road pricing.

    Labour has highlighted increasing congestion, liveability and economic development as the key drivers for its transport policy.

    National emphasises productivity and growth, safety and congestion relief as the predominant benefits of its programme.

    “Neither party has identified longer term operational costs from their policies, nor provided evidence that their policies will actually deliver on promises to reduce congestion and support economic development.

    “The fact that we have such contrasting national investment priorities across our major parties is an indictment on our evaluation and prioritisation processes, which should be objective.

    “We spend tens of millions of dollars every year on complex modelling and evaluation of projects and their benefits which should, in theory, depoliticise transport priorities and deliver the right projects for the job.

    “That two such different approaches can be promoted indicates a lack of evidence is present in our decision making.

    “An objective and independent body such as a New Zealand Infrastructure Commission is urgently required to investigate and analyse transport and other infrastructure priorities for New Zealand,” Selwood says.


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

  • 05 Sep 2017 2:12 PM | Anonymous


    "The change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) to allow it to fund water storage projects that directly lead to environmental benefits is a very positive step and should be extended to recognise resilience and social benefits as well," says Infrastructure New Zealand, Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

    "To date, existing rules guiding the government's irrigation investment arm have placed a too narrow focus on direct economic benefits.

    "This has resulted in disproportionate emphasis on maximising land use productivity and insufficient recognition of wider economic, social and environmental benefits.

    "Widening the criteria to include the full scope of costs and benefits from irrigation is critical.

    "Other benefits not currently adequately recognised include enhancing the resilience of rural areas in the face of climate change, supporting employment and improving the quality and amenity of freshwater resources.

    "In the immediate term, this means wider economic and social benefits, including increased regional employment and improved freshwater swimming quality, will be better reflected in the reasons the public invests in irrigation infrastructure. 

    "We also know that irrigation is increasingly being used to improve environmental performance by recharging aquifers, guaranteeing minimum river flows and flushing systems. 

    "These benefits are of the utmost importance over the long term as rainfall patterns shift in response to climate change.

    "Yet resilience is not currently a significant driver for irrigation investment, and even environmental factors are approached from the perspective of mitigating effects rather than improving environmental performance.

    "Assessing the full spectrum of costs and benefits over the long term is a core infrastructure activity and needs to be included in CIIL’s brief," Selwood says.



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

  • 04 Sep 2017 2:54 PM | Anonymous


    A group of like-minded organisations, called Resource Reform NZ, is calling for a far-reaching review of the current resource management system.

    The announcement made today by The National Party, to establish a review of the current urban planning system, recognises the current problem but does not go far enough.

    The group is adamant that reform of the resource management system needs to go much further. It recommends this is best addressed through cross-party consensus on the issue by a politically independent process, such as a Commission or similar.

    Resource Reform NZ, is an alliance of EMA, Environmental Defence Society, Infrastructure New Zealand and Property Council New Zealand. The group is seeking prosperity for all New Zealanders through the development of an integrated governance, planning, funding and delivery system to guide resource management and national economic development.

    "We know New Zealand’s prosperity is being held back by the current framework the wider planning system operates within. It is no longer fit for purpose, and is why we find ways to work around the current system when we want to deliver the infrastructure that the country so desperately needs," says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive, Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The current uncoordinated planning system is driving increasing housing unaffordability, the high cost of commercial development and reliance on outdated funding mechanisms such as rates and council debt. That means we’re simply not building enough, quickly enough with the quality and innovation needed to develop the cities and standard of living we all expect in the future," says Connal Townsend, Chief Executive, Property Council New Zealand.

    "The environment is suffering too. The Resource Management Act is our pre-eminent environmental law. Yet the cumulative effects of permitted land use activities over the lifetime of the Act have led to a slow but significant deterioration of the quality of our streams, rivers and lakes," says Gary Taylor, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Society

    "For business these issues are also stifling the ability to grow and expand. Which in turn, also impacts employees and the families. Looking into the future, we face even bigger challenges in how we manage and respond to demographic changes, advances in technology, rising consumer expectations and climate change," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.


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

  • 01 Sep 2017 1:31 PM | Anonymous


    "The National Party’s announcement today that, if elected, it will set up an independent National Infrastructure Commission should have cross party support," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    "Establishment of such a body will bring New Zealand’s infrastructure practices up to speed with Australia, the UK, Canada and other leading countries.

    "The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to provide independent, strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.

    "A New Zealand infrastructure commission needs to be charged with equivalent responsibility. This would include investigating and recommending responses to our most pressing issues in housing, freshwater quality and congestion, in addition to oversight of project delivery, procurement, and the national infrastructure pipeline.

    "The size of the infrastructure workload ahead means we have to make the most of every dollar spent. Having a public entity working in New Zealand's best interests and with expertise in project delivery is critical.

    "National’s announcement today is focussed on leveraging private sector capital and expertise through Public Private Partnerships.

    "PPPs are an important component of any rational infrastructure delivery programme, but the Commission needs to encompass all forms of project delivery, regardless of whether or not private capital is involved.

    "Successive surveys by Infrastructure NZ and other evidence shows that New Zealand’s infrastructure procurement can significantly be improved and international experience shows there are billions of dollars of benefit from doing so.

    "Having our best and most experienced people involved when the Government buys large and complex assets like motorways, railways, schools, and hospitals minimises the risk of mistakes and capitalises on the investment opportunity.

    "It’s not only individual projects which will benefit from a new body. A clear and committed national infrastructure pipeline has for many years been an industry priority. Businesses who deliver assets on behalf of governments need to know what’s ahead and if the Commission can provide greater certainty around this it will make a big difference to investment and productivity in the sector.

    "These are the reasons why Canada, through Partnerships BC and Infrastructure Ontario, the UK, through the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Scottish Futures Trust, and Australia through Infrastructure NSW and Major Projects Victoria have all picked up the model.

    "Some of the greatest benefits could be realised from using the Commission to assist local government with its $50 billion infrastructure programme. Bundling council projects and supporting our smallest infrastructure providers with specialist knowledge will reduce project overruns and help provide better services at lower cost to ratepayers.

    "For the Commission to be successful, it will need arm’s length independence from the Government, like the Commerce Commission or Reserve Bank, to ensure that it acts apolitically in New Zealand’s long term interests.

    "A specialist infrastructure body is a really positive step forward for New Zealand. It is a bi-partisan response to New Zealand’s infrastructure needs and should receive cross-party support," Selwood says.


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

  • 17 Aug 2017 9:36 AM | Anonymous


    "There is now broad agreement across the infrastructure industry that consolidating public procurement expertise in an arm’s-length specialist agency is critical to meeting New Zealand’s investment programme," says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure NZ.   

    "We’ve seen a definite shift across industry over the past 12 months. Now, four out of five of the people most heavily involved in designing, building and providing infrastructure services to government and councils believe a specialist procurement agency would be “effective” or “highly effective” in lifting performance.

    "A separate poll conducted at the release of the survey findings found a staggering 96 per cent believed we cannot continue to procure infrastructure the way we are.

    "We have enormous resource challenges in front of us. If we are to successfully deliver the $125 billion infrastructure programme over the next 10 years and make the most of new services, the way we plan, fund, procure, deliver and operate these services must be as good as it can be.

    "The industry survey identifies major opportunities for improvement across the sector. Many agencies are excessively focused on price over long term value. Projects are poorly phased to the market in boom bust cycles. A limited range of procurement options are being used that fail to draw on the experience and capability of the industry. Contract law is being rewritten on almost every project and risk is being unfairly transferred to contractors resulting in poor outcomes and unnecessarily high costs to the client.

    "There are examples of good practice across the country.

    "NZTA came out on top as the country’s top procurer of infrastructure services for the third year in succession. Its work on bodies like the Road Efficiency Group and SCIRT has delivered efficiencies through scale, partnership, new delivery models and an advanced understanding of risk.

    "NZTA is held in high regard by the industry because its staff are experts at what they do. They understand how best to allocate risk. They focus on value rather than cost and match the procurement method with the job to be done. They also proactively engage suppliers to ensure the forward work programme is clearly signalled in advance to maintain a healthy, competitive market that has capacity to deliver.

    "But with 20 District Health Boards, 78 councils, transport, education, housing and other public institutions all procuring major capital assets independently, skills are too widely distributed and processes too fragmented.

    "New Zealand does not have the capacity to harness best practice and transfer it efficiently from one project to the next.

    "Every country we compare ourselves to has responded to this challenge with a specialised collaborative procurement body.

    "Whether it’s Partnerships BC in Canada, Infrastructure NSW in Australia or the Scottish Futures Trust, other jurisdictions have realised huge benefits by consolidating expertise in a fit-for-purpose entity which assists public bodies with project procurement.

    "Public bodies responsible for delivering services remain in charge. The difference is that they have experts in project procurement helping them along the way.

    "In its first year of operation the Scottish Futures Trust delivered £111 million of added value from just a £4.3 million budget. The UK has recently achieved a 15 per cent saving on infrastructure spending by focusing on best practice procurement and collaborative working.

    "If we could achieve a much more modest 5-10 per cent improvement in delivering New Zealand’s $125 billion capital intentions plan, we could secure $6-12 billion of infrastructure value above and beyond what we’re planning.

    "That’s five or six Waterview Connections or enough to address the entire backlog of water supply and wastewater investment nationwide.

    "Benefits come from standardising contracts and processes, picking the right model for the job, allocating risk effectively between client and suppliers, sequencing projects to align initiatives and optimise capacity, packaging projects to achieve economies of scale, and ensuring the whole asset process from planning to delivery and operation is performed efficiently.

    "Between the public and private sectors we have the skills and the capability. Experts in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Treasury, NZTA and other agencies are funded already. Bringing these experts together with procurement and delivery specialists from the private sector into a dedicated and highly focused centre of expertise would enable New Zealand to emulate the results we see in other countries.

    "It’s a huge opportunity and one which the incoming government should embrace immediately," Selwood says.


    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 10 Aug 2017 4:46 PM | Anonymous


    EMA, Infrastructure New Zealand, Property Council New Zealand and the Environmental Defence Society’s call for a cohesive strategy to drive reform of the country’s resource management and planning systems seems to have gained momentum.

    The coalition of these organisations says their jointly funded research and first-hand experience of the current system clearly demonstrates it is failing its environmental goals and New Zealand’s prosperity is being held back. Change is now urgent.

    Views expressed at EDS’s Tipping Points conference reflects this. Today, the Green Party called for a formal review of New Zealand’s environmental management and planning laws, if it was in Government.

    "The evidence of our failure is clear. Escalating housing unaffordability, groaning infrastructure and a slow but significant deterioration in the quality of monitored streams, rivers and lakes are just some examples," says Gary Taylor, CEO, Environmental Defence Society.

    Collectively the coalition is calling on the Government, whatever its make-up post-23 September, to be bold, visionary and initiate a broad review covering of the system as a whole.

    "A Royal Commission is one way to do that. As a coalition, we are open to other ways to provide a broad and independent review that can cut through political sensitivities, accommodate the diverse perspectives of multiple stakeholders and provide binding outcomes," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA

    ""The problems are wider than the RMA, reaching into New Zealand’s system of local government, the role, form and resourcing of councils and how infrastructure is planned and funded," says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand

    Having consulted extensively, the coalition recognises that whilst many New Zealanders agree there is a need for change, they differ on how to achieve it.

    "What is needed, in our view, is a first principles review of our central and local government planning, funding and environmental resource management system. This review must also bring together and draw upon the experience and insight of business, environmental, community and political voices," says Connal Townsend, Chief Executive Property Council New Zealand.


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

  • 06 Aug 2017 3:45 PM | Anonymous


    "Labour's commitment to solving Auckland's long term transport funding challenge is a big step forward," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The region is facing an annual deficit of around half a billion dollars to fund the agreed programme. Labour will introduce a 10 cents per litre regional fuel tax, which will levy around $160 million per annum, and deploy targeted rates to fund the remainder. 

    "Carefully applied targeted rates in particular could be transformational in Auckland. Over the past few years we've seen major public transport investments materialise as property value increases, but had limited scope to capture that value and use it to fund the programme.

    "A key concern for business has for many years been the lack of certainty for transport investment in Auckland. The projects are there on paper, but without funding certainty it is difficult for everyone from property investors to transport suppliers to gear up for opportunities ahead.

    "As long as funding is provided on a case by case basis, the investment programme is less a forward work plan for industry than a political football which increases investment risk. 

    "Risks are priced into projects and we all pay more for roads, rail, homes and buildings. 

    "We hope that the vital East-West Link does not become a case study on this issue. 

    "The project has a very strong business case, including a benefit cost ratio approaching 2.0, but with its benefits accruing to freight and industry it has struggled to receive popular support. 

    "Agreeing a forward work plan and providing a stable funding regime to deliver that programme when required is critical to meeting Auckland's growth needs. 

    "If Labour's approach provides this certainty, it will be warmly received by everyone," Selwood says.


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

  • 04 Aug 2017 11:28 AM | Anonymous


    "The Government’s $2.6 billion commitment to Auckland’s overwhelmed transport system is a well-balanced package of investment in road, rail and bus. Combined with consents for the East-West strategic link, expected later this year, this will deliver benefits inside and outside the boundaries of our largest city," says the CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand, Stephen Selwood.

    A billion dollars has been committed to developing the Mill Rd corridor, which will duplicate a large portion of State Highway 1, freeing up New Zealand’s most important freight corridor and providing for new housing development.

    A further $100 million has been allocated to construction of a third rail line through the busiest part of the rail network. Recent analysis has shown this will deliver a strong economic benefit by improving freight access to and from port facilities and reducing interruption to commuter services.

    "Both these projects are about reducing the choking effect Auckland is having on national transport movements and will deliver wider supply chain benefits to the national economy.

    "The remaining and greater share of the investment is to be committed to rapid transit in the west, east and south via a new busway to growth areas in the north-west, an injection into the long delayed AMETI eastern busway and electrification of rail from Papakura to Pukekohe.

    "This is a comprehensive response to NZIER’s finding that congestion is costing all of New Zealand around $2 billion every year.

    "One project not featured in today’s announcement is the critical East-West Link. We’ve all experienced the positive benefit of the Waterview Connection, but the only new strategic capacity we’re assuming on the isthmus over the next 30 years is the East-West Link.

    "This vital corridor will deliver almost $2 of benefit for every dollar invested by opening up New Zealand’s most important industrial zone.

    "These benefits do not even include the resilience of connecting State Highway 1 and State Highway 20, the value of retaining long term capability to connect further east or the environmental benefits of fixing up a former rubbish dump on the edge of the Manukau harbour.

    "It is vital that resource consents for this project are granted. Once in place, the East-West Link and other projects announced today will have a lasting positive impact on movements to, from, through and within our largest city," Selwood says.


    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 02 Aug 2017 4:00 PM | Anonymous


    Productivity in Auckland could be boosted by at least $1.3 billion per annum if use of the roading network could be optimised.

    An NZIER report commissioned by the EMA, Auckland International Airport Ltd, Infrastructure NZ, Ports of Auckland Ltd and the National Road Carriers Association took a detailed look at the social and economic costs of congestion to Auckland’s lifestyle and economy.

    The report found that if Auckland’s road network could operate at its designed capacity during week days it would benefit the Auckland economy by nearly $3.5 million per day. Sick days cost the New Zealand economy $1.5 billion per annum - fixing Auckland’s congestion illness would be like finding a cure for the common cold and immunising the entire country against the flu.

    The funding organisations are united in the view that there is a pressing case for decongestion measures to be introduced in Auckland now, not in the 6-10 year time frame currently being contemplated by both central and local government.

    All agreed the size of the productivity prize and liveability gains for Auckland and the scale of the problem demanded action.

    NZIER took a sophisticated model that can break down the impact per business sector and applied Auckland Transport’s latest 2016 traffic flow information to the problem that is increasingly strangling Auckland and its economy.

    “What business is telling us and what we’re seeing in the numbers is that congestion has worsened exponentially in the past three to five years,” says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.

    “Our EMA members who took part in focus groups put the productivity loss in the 20-30% bracket so what the above figures show is the average productivity loss across the entire population of Auckland.”

    Some of the highlighted costs were:

    •          Hiring 20% more staff to carry out the same volume of work

    •          Trucking firms making fewer runs over fixed routes over longer time frames to deliver less volume of product with a near 30% productivity loss

    •          Service firms establishing depots around the city, at significant costs, to meet service promises i.e. one-hour replacements or deliveries

    •          Trucking firms refusing to deliver to some parts of the city described as black holes for their vehicles

    According to Infrastructure NZ CEO Stephen Selwood, the actual productivity gains may be even higher.

    “We know this estimate is conservative. The model only measures congestion on five of seven days and of course, business is a seven-day a week operation. It also only values leisure trips at less than half the value of work time, a value I’m sure many Aucklanders would agree undershoots the cost.

    “I’m also very concerned that the Auckland Transport Alignment Plan (ATAP) only sets its sights on not making congestion worse in the next 30 years and its 10-year time-frame for introducing congestion charging is just too far away.”

    Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson stressed the report showed a need for a multifaceted approach to reducing congestion to boost productivity.

    “Congestion is making life worse for all of us, so we need to act now. There is no one answer to the problem, we need to attack congestion with everything we’ve got: investment in road, rail, public transport, technology, demand management and so on. We also need to be much smarter and think further ahead in how we plan transport for the future.”

    National Road Carriers Association CEO David Aitken also highlighted lifestyle issues caused by congestion as a fundamental difficulty for recruiting in the freight sector.

    “The Road Freight sector has seen increasing congestion for some years.  The fact that travel times have increased 47% in just three years and is only going to get worse if we don’t do something is a clear sign we need to be thinking about solutions and taking actions now.  Productivity has declined in an already tight market.

    “Five years ago a truck driver could make a living on about 50 hours per week, but now with congestion that’s up to 70 hours a week and people do actually want to spend time with family rather than sitting in Auckland traffic.  At a time when it’s hard to get drivers, we are losing them as they don’t want to be sitting in congestion all day.” 

    While all of the CEOs acknowledge that better progress is being made than has been the case in the past, authorities need to demonstrate a much greater sense of urgency.

    That Auckland experiences worse congestion than cities up to five times its size is an indictment on poor planning and inadequacy of investment which goes back decades. Neither Auckland nor New Zealand can afford to let the problem get any worse. We must act now to realize the social and economic opportunities that decongesting Auckland presents.


    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 24 Jul 2017 9:49 AM | Anonymous


    "The Government's announcement today that it will set up Crown Infrastructure Partnerships to seed fund private investment in road and water infrastructure provides a means to dramatically increase housing supply," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    "Timely delivery of trunk infrastructure is a major constraint on developers' ability to deliver housing across New Zealand," Selwood says.

    "Under this model, Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) will facilitate partnerships between the Government and local councils to enable private investment in roads and water treatment plants to unlock land for development.

    "Traditionally councils have been unable to deliver infrastructure soon enough because of other demands on funding and political constraints on their ability to increase property rates and fund debt. 

    "Under this model, the debt will be covered by private investors. 

    "The $600 million seed fund announced today will enable CIP to cover initial demand risk until the developments are in place and new ratepayers are able to pay for the infrastructure. As the Crown is repaid, it will then be able to recycle that capital into new developments.

    "A key advantage of this approach is that the cost of the infrastructure is not included in the up front cost of a home. This will reduce house prices, meaning smaller mortgages. 

    "Instead, home owners will pay for the infrastructure services over time through targeted rates on their properties.

    "The Crown partnership agency is similar to the successful Scottish Futures Trust model in Scotland and the Municipal Utility District approach in the United States. Both countries use these models to deliver better outcomes sooner by leveraging private capital and expertise.

    "Re-purposing Crown Fibre Holdings into Crown Infrastructure Partnerships in New Zealand is a very smart move.

    "Crown Fibre Holdings has a track record of successful partnerships with the private sector and this approach has enabled a step change in the roll out of high speed broadband.

    "Successful evolution of that model into integrated development of infrastructure and housing at scale could transform housing supply and make a significant contribution to delivering affordable homes sooner rather than later." Selwood says.


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

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