Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 22 Jan 2016 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    Jointly owned urban development agency for Christchurch worthy of consideration

    Media Statement 
    2 September 2014

    Given the strategic importance of the Canterbury rebuild, it is logical that the transition from emergency governance arrangements is overseen by the Prime Ministers office, but to maintain momentum in the city centre an expert development agency is an option that should be investigated, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    CERA has successfully overcome immense challenges in the wake of the devastating Canterbury earthquakes.

    With the emergency response function of CERA largely addressed and the rebuild underway, it is appropriate that longer term governance arrangements are now investigated.

    Ultimately, responsibility for communities affected by the earthquakes will need to be restored to local authorities. Migrating CERA into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will help ensure CERA remains focused on the recovery while options are considered.

    However, as the Governments role in Canterbury gradually becomes less overt, and as local authorities, particularly the Christchurch City Council, assume wider responsibilities, there is a risk that politics begins to impede progress.

    In no place is there likely to be greater potential for cross-governance friction than in the central city. The scale of central government investment there is such that the Government can never fully extract itself from decision making processes, something the city council will increasingly find impedes its efforts to deliver its objectives.

    The Government is either going to have to surrender some decision making authority over national resources to a local authority or a third party acting on behalf of both institutions.

    Given the success of specialist urban redevelopment agencies overseas, including in Australia, it makes a lot of sense that such an organisation be considered to undertake delivery of the central city Blueprint on behalf of the Government and Christchurch City Council.

    Aside from depoliticising such an important and sensitive issue, establishing an independent dedicated body will facilitate appointment of highly skilled specialists in urban redevelopment, procurement and delivery who understand market drivers and can deliver on identified outcomes.

    These have not traditionally been the kind of skills maintained by government and after the central city rebuild is complete it is not likely that these skills will be required further.

    The Governments announcement that it will appoint a body to provide advice on transition arrangements provides the opportunity to objectively consider all options for the effective governance, procurement and delivery of the Canterbury rebuild.

    A jointly owned local and central government urban development agency with independent governance and specialist procurement and delivery capability is an option worthy of detailed consideration, Selwood says.


  • 22 Jan 2016 11:09 AM | Anonymous

    Media Statement 
    1 August 2014

    The Christchurch and Auckland councils should embrace the highly successful asset recycling approach employed in Australia to alleviate community concerns over needed asset sell-downs, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    Asset recycling partial or full sell-down of capital in existing assets to fund identified new assets for the community has been used successfully in Australia to deliver much needed investment in the face of initial public concern.

    For example, the sale of Newcastle Port was eventually embraced in New South Wales after it was made clear that proceeds would be directed into infrastructure and the rejuvenation of Newcastle city.

    The public were thus able to consider in a tangible way whether they wanted a revitalised central city and new and better infrastructure or maintain ownership in the port.

    This approach is a smart alternative for ratepayers in Christchurch and Auckland and was highlighted by Cameron Partners in their report on options for managing Christchurchs financial challenges, released today.

    By recycling capital tied up in existing assets Christchurch will improve its capacity to invest in a productive, innovative and world-class city.

    The Auckland Council could accelerate investment in much needed transport infrastructure by doing the same.

    What local communities demand is transparency. They need clear understanding of what assets will be sold, where and how the money will be reinvested, and what the social and economic payback will be. What the national community demands is that locals contribute fairly towards projects which call upon national resources but which also have significant local benefits.

    Asset recycling gives the community this choice. If Australia is anything to go by, politicians will be pleasantly surprised at the level of community support for asset recycling, provided the benefits exceed the costs, Selwood says.

  • 22 Jan 2016 11:08 AM | Anonymous

    Transmission Gully PPP brings innovative approach to transport infrastructure investment in NZ

    Media Statement 
    29 July 2014

    After many decades of frustration, Wellingtonians can now look forward to a resilient and efficient roading connection to the rest of the North Island, due in large part to alternate financing arrangements which overcome institutional barriers to major transport investment, says Stephen Selwood, CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    The billion-dollar Transmission Gully mega-project is a vital link in the Wellington Northern Corridor Road of National Significance, providing a much more effective strategic connection between Wellington city and the territories north of Paekakariki. Employment centres, activities and, potentially, entire industries will be made possible by improved connectivity between the lower North Islands population centres and Wellingtons central business district, port and airport.

    The new corridor will replace the fragile coastal segment of State Highway 1 north of Tawa which is vulnerable to both flooding and earthquakes, and will save many lives on what is currently one of the most hazardous stretches of road in the country.

    Despite the clear strategic merit of this project, Transmission Gully has been deferred for decades because of its comparative high cost. Conventional cost-benefit analysis does not adequately recognise regional growth potential, land use and other transformational benefits which lie at the very heart of Transmission Gully and the pay-as-you-go National Land Transport Fund is not geared for billion-dollar projects which consume such a disproportionate share of annual resources.

    The Governments elevation of inter-regional investment through the RoNS initiative and NZTAs expansion of transport evaluation to recognise the importance of strategic corridors like Transmission Gully both deserve commendation for overcoming the barrier posed by narrow economic analyses.

    The funding challenge was overcome by the first ever use of private finance in a New Zealand transport project.

    By employing a public-private partnership or PPP model, NZTA are able to leverage private capital to advance Transmission Gully as a single project. Not only does this enable the economic, safety and strategic benefits of the project to be brought forward, but the successful Leighton-led consortium have been able to demonstrate over the past year that efficiencies in project delivery and risk transfer away from tax payers has been sufficient to offset the cost of private debt.

    This is a significant innovation in transport infrastructure investment in New Zealand. It caps off a mixed week following the Environmental Protection Authoritys consent for Puhoi to Warkworth, but cancellation of approval for the Basin Flyover.

    Maybe its time to go to the market and seek innovative solutions to solving transport connectivity across, around or under the Basin Reserve in Wellington? Selwood asks.

  • 22 Jan 2016 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    Media Release 
    3 July 2014

    New Zealand will not achieve the governments target to build 35,000 affordable homes in six years unless we throw out old ways of thinking, says New Zealand Infrastructure chief.

    Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand is speaking at this weeks Community Housing Aotearoa conference in Nelson and says the old ways of building homes, house by house and builder by builder have got to go.

    Our culture has been around the quarter acre pavlova paradise. A single house on a single section built one by one, block by block. But if we really want to reduce the cost of housing we need to reduce the amount of land we consume, build up instead of out and shift to modular construction of new homes at scale. We should be looking at developments of five hundred or more homes at a time. We need to be creating new communities to achieve the transformation we need.

    Stephen Selwood says New Zealand is lagging behind countries such as Australia and Canada where strong partnerships between community housing organisations and private sector developers have been successful in creating mixed tenure mixed development communities at scale.

    In New Zealand, he says there is resistance to intensified redevelopment exemplified by the objections to Auckland councils unitary plan.

    People have not seen what good urban development looks like and when you start talking about intensification it conjures up student apartment developments in Aucklands CBD or high rise isolated tower buildings in Britain and people dont want a bar of it.

    He says New Zealand needs good examples to show there is a good way of achieving intensification. A model development on land in Tamaki offers an ideal opportunity.

    The Creating Communities redevelopment of 270 new homes in Northern Glen Innes is a good start. The initiative will create more housing choices in the area including homes for first home buyers and for the general market, as well as 78 new state homes. A key part of the plan is to build on strengths of the community that exists in Glen Innes, encouraging new opportunities, and enhancing a greater sense of community pride and belonging.

    Id like to see this kind of development extended further with strong partnership between the development industry, equity investors including iwi, the banks and community housing organisations providing place management and wrap around support services for those who need it.

    In Glenn Innes, we need to create a whole new community thats a nice place to live, affordable to buy into, has good amenities around it and provides good social interaction. There needs to be a mixture of private and social housing and mixed tenures alongside amenities like shopping, parks, and relative proximity to jobs, he says. 
    Stephen Selwood says the government could provide state housing land and go to community housing organisations and private sector providers and ask them what it would take to deliver what is needed.

    He says more leadership from government is needed to support interest from the community and business sectors. Government will also need to provide subsidy through transfer of existing state housing stock or commitment of existing social support budgets to fund the provision of necessary wrap around services for socially disadvantaged tenants. But if existing budgets can be redeployed to deliver better long term results that has to be a good outcome for government and the local communities.

    The government is slowly making changes with its support for community housing organisations creating a competitive model to the traditional Housing New Zealand model, but could do more to put long term funding and settings in place.

    Community Housing Organisations are doing a fantastic job. We need more partnerships between them and our urban property developers who specialise in this redevelopment delivery model at scale. Lets test the model.

  • 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.

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