Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 10 Jun 2020 4:13 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Today’s national assessment of our health assets shows that our health infrastructure is on life support and points to systemic weaknesses in the ways we plan, fund, and deliver our social infrastructure,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “Today, the Ministry of Health released its report of the National Asset Management Programme for district health boards (DHBs).

    “We commend the Government and the Ministry of Health for commissioning and publishing this vital and confronting work. For far too long, there has been poor transparency on the true condition of New Zealand hospitals.

    “The report found that our hospitals are old, with significant infrastructure deficiencies, and are technologically behind the times.

    “DHBs estimate that, though our hospitals have a total replacement value of $24 billion, they will need $14 billion in capital investment to bring them up to standard over the next decade, showing just how much work is needed. 

    “The $14 billion of investment required is a major increase from the $5.5 billion estimated a decade ago and will likely rise further the longer we delay.

    “Pleasingly, $750 million in capital investment was committed in Budget 2020. This is a significant step forward but it only represents half of what is required every year for the next ten years.

    “A ten-year funding commitment from Budget 2021 will be required.

    “This will not only demonstrate to the public that the Government is committed to resolving severe health infrastructure issues, but will give the infrastructure sector time and confidence to scale up for the largest health capital investment in decades.

    “It couldn’t have come at a better time. The vertical construction sector will soften markedly through 2021 as existing projects are completed and private investment remains muted.

    “Government now has an opportunity to build through the dip, utilising available resources and improving the quality of life-saving infrastructure.

    “If the Government is unable to commit funding directly, there is significant private capital (including quasi-public entities like NZ Super and ACC) looking for opportunities and a range of models are available to help Government manage cashflow and meet essential service demand.

    “Reform of our health sector should also be investigated.

    “Evidence that New Zealand’s provision of ICU beds is far below comparable countries  and ongoing DHB financial pressures suggest our model may no longer be fit for purpose.  

    “Health spending should not be ‘the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’.

    “Integrated  planning and funding of high-quality housing, water, transport and social infrastructure can provide highly effective ‘primary care’ intervention, and this should be prioritised as well to improve holistic health outcomes for Kiwis.

    “Our Government should be setting ambitious outcomes for the health of kiwis  – we look forward to transformational reform such as that recommended by the Health & Disability System Review,” says Blair.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 08 Jun 2020 3:35 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “New Zealand's move to Alert Level 1 means the infrastructure industry’s largest annual event, the Building Nations Symposium, is now confirmed for 14-15 October at Trusts Arena, West Auckland,” says Paul Blair, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “With the $12 billion upgrade programme, $3 billion shovel-ready stimulus and another $20 billion of public investment available, this will be one of the most highly-anticipated Building Nations events ever.

    “Closely following the election, the Government’s investment agenda, water, transport, housing and the transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy will be among the priority topics for discussion.

    “Last year’s Symposium in Rotorua hosted over 720 attendees and generated over $2 million dollars for the local economy.

    “Building Nations is the premier infrastructure event where infrastructure leaders and experts go to hear the best and latest thinking from Ministers, global experts, and public and private sector decision-makers.

    “Buildings Nations has been recognised for its approach to sustainability and is a finalist for 4 NZEA 2019 Event Awards this year, including Best Corporate Event, Best Established Event Professional, Best Local Government Event and Best International Event.

    “Registrations will open shortly and we look forward to safely bringing a positive impact to the West Auckland community and the infrastructure industry,” says Blair.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 19 May 2020 10:03 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “We are proud to support the Visionweek web summit, which will start the conversation on a national vision for New Zealand,” says Paul Blair, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Visionweek runs from 8-12 June. It is a free, inclusive opportunity for individuals, businesses, iwi and communities to share their vision for what the well-being of New Zealanders should look like in 5, 10, or 50 years.

    “A national vision will give purpose and direction to $100 billion worth of public spending and will heavily influence the remaining $200 billion of private spending in our economy.

    “The COVID-19 crisis showed us that an aligned nation of five million can achieve world-leading results when we know what we’re trying to achieve.

    “With a vision to give us the ‘why?’, a long term, integrated national plan is possible, providing clarity on what is important, where, how and who is responsible for delivery. With a long-term plan for the success of our country, we can generate ‘additional effort’ from people and communities towards our shared goals.

    “It is time to focus on the comparative strengths we have as a nation, including our early exit from COVID lockdown. We also need to address some of the critical areas where New Zealand lags OECD peers such as housing quality and affordability, equality of opportunity, productivity and addressing climate change.

    “Our Finance Minister in his pre-Budget speech said “there are few times in life when the clock is reset. Now is the time we should address these long-term issues. It is a privilege many countries won't have. It's not one we should squander,"

    “A series of fantastic speakers will put forward their ideas on five daily digital TV programmes as a thought starter for hearing what you, as organisations and as individuals, believe our country should look like.

    “Speakers include Peter Beck, Frances Valintine, Tamati Kruger, Sir Peter Gluckman, Kate Boylan, Shamubeel Equab, Dr Rod Carr, Rachel Taulelei, Sir Stephen Tindall, Nicole Rosie and Rod Drury amongst many more.

    “We urge all our members and their staff to register for the summit at visionweek.co.nz, and to start thinking about how they can contribute to this shared vision. Participants should post their ideas, videos, polls or other content using the #visionweekNZ hashtag on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter, so these ideas can be shared through the platform.

    “To learn more about how your team can get involved in #visionweekNZ, you could register for one of two briefings where the Visionweek team will outline how to get involved. Click this link for a session today, and this link for the Thursday session.

    “We have a rare opportunity to set a long-term vision and create a national strategic plan for New Zealand to lift the wellbeing of all New Zealanders - we now look forward to your engagement to bring these ideas forward,” says Blair.

    Visionweek is made possible by the support of multiple partners, including Sustainable Business Council, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, InternetNZ, the Ministry for the Environment, Infrastructure New Zealand and ASN Media.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 18 May 2020 5:42 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “We are delighted to release a new report today, in collaboration with the University of Canterbury Quake Centre and their Building Innovation Partnership, on the value and need for a Digital Twin for New Zealand’s infrastructure,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “A Digital Twin is a data-based replica of the built environment. It brings together the many disparate datasets on buildings, water, transport, energy and other infrastructure and uses that data to build a digital model of the real world that can experimented with to inform decision making.

    “By mirroring our physical environment digitally, we can easily discover potential challenges and shared solutions between infrastructure that too often is disconnected from each other.

    “Digital twins allow you to easily share data in a standardised form, collaborate on solutions, and better plan maintenance and new construction.

    “Our country has over $300 billion in infrastructure assets and will spend another $100-150 billion over the next 10 years in maintaining and improving our infrastructure.

    “A Digital Twin would be an easy win to streamline and combine works, reduce uncertainty, and facilitate long-term strategic planning.

    “It could be particularly valuable in optimising the delivery of programmes emerging from the Infrastructure Reference Group prioritisation process.

    “This report encourages the Government and Industry to collaborate on a Digital Twin for New Zealand. We believe it could have a transformational impact on the way our industry and country works,” says Blair.

    “Leveraging our infrastructure data is possibly one of the most effective investments that we can make at this time. We have smart people, the technology needed, and a vision for the future. Let’s take this opportunity to be clever with our data to build, run and maintain our infrastructure in ways that deliver the services needed for New Zealanders to flourish,” says Greg Preston, Quake Centre Manager.

    We thank the Quake Centre and our many members who collaborated with us to develop this report and advance this thinking. Please read the report by following this link.

    To learn more about Digital Twins, and to hear from the some of the experts leading this work, please watch our webinar on the topic, tomorrow morning at 10:30am. You can register for the session by following this link

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 14 May 2020 6:15 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The Government’s budget has made prudent investment in some no-regrets infrastructure sectors, which will get the sector going while we plan the transformational investment needed to build back better,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “The budget includes over $6 billion in infrastructure capital expenditure, the bulk of which is a $3 billion fund to go towards shovel-ready projects.

    “This $3 billion spend will be informed by the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group and Crown Infrastructure Partner’s hard work but will not be exclusive to it. We expect to see detailed project announcements in the coming weeks and months.

    “An additional $1.1 billion is being spent to upgrade and maintain transport infrastructure, including $400 million to replace the Interislander ferries, $250 million on the national rail network, and $420 million on new locomotives, mechanical facilities, and signalling for KiwiRail and Auckland’s rail networks.

    “Social infrastructure rounds out the total with $750 million allocated to health capital expenditure, $115 million for school capital expenditure, and $5 billion from Kāinga Ora’s debt allowance to build another 2,000 social houses per annum for the next four years.

    “Also pleasing is the ongoing funding announced to retrain workers for critical industries such as construction, which will be needed to build industry capacity for more work to come.

    “These no-regrets investments are a welcome first step to addressing our country’s severe infrastructure deficit, but more will need to be done.

    “Major investment in addition to Budget 2020 will be required for our aging and inadequate water, urban development, and transport infrastructure.

    “But we also have the chance to build back better. This is our chance to reposition New Zealand’s economy for coming decades so that it is more productive, inclusive and sustainable.

    “What does that economy look like? Who should pay for the infrastructure which enables it? What’s the role of local government and the private sector?

    “We have the opportunity now to address these big questions. Doing so will tell us where to prioritise the transformational strategic investments which New Zealand will need to emerge from this crisis stronger than before,” Blair says.   


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 04 May 2020 1:18 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The Government’s confirmation that Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting processes will be streamlined is great news for the recovery but must be just the start of the reform process,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair. 

    The RMA has become a litigious, cumbersome, and complex piece of legislation. It was never intended to be applied the way it has been, and it was not designed to facilitate recovery from something like the COVID-19 lockdown. 

    "New Zealand has several successful RMA fast-track precedents, notably after the Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes. 

    The two-year sunset clause on the fast-track measures should align well with the longer-term resource management reforms being considered by the Randerson Review. 

    It is now imperative that the Government also aligns both immediate and longer-term RMA reforms with wider planning and consenting statutes. 

    If projects receive RMA approval only to be held up by business case or Local Government Act process requirements, then we won’t get the progress we need. 

    Parallel processes are required, so that projects can move through RMA fast-tracking at the same time as design, effects modelling, procurement and funding details are confirmed.   

    Eighty per cent of construction projects in New Zealand come from the private sector and local government. Now is the time to experiment with risk and reward conditions to fast track projects of all sizes, not just the big ones we can all name from memory.  

    “Infrastructure New Zealand’s Building Regions proposal provides a pathway to implementing this reform. 

    We have the opportunity to not just get our country moving in the short term, but also to set it up for the success in the long-term, Blair says. 

    Infrastructure New Zealand has also released a joint press release (click here to read) with Resource Reform NZ, a partnership between Infrastructure New Zealand, the Environmental Defence Society (EDS), the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Property Council New Zealand, and BusinessNZ.


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 29 Apr 2020 7:06 AM | Anonymous
    MEDIA RELEASE


    “The
    economy and jobs are the priority for the May budget, but post budget the Government must accelerate discussions on the long-term vision, principles and larger investments required to transform the country into the new New Zealand,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair. 

    There are three horizons for government’s response to COVID-19: the first horizon emergency measures to maintain the economy and jobs is nearing an end as we come out of lockdown. 

    The second horizon is about short-term stimulus to restart the economy. 

    “The third horizon of work offers a once-in-a-generation chance to transform New Zealand and steer our country’s direction for decades to come. 

    “Interviews with senior leaders of Infrastructure NZ member organisations, our young leaders Emerging Talent Network, and feedback from thousands of our webinar attendees have consistently called for this crisis to be turned into an opportunity to lift our vision and reset our strategic thinking. 

    The competing ideas about which sectors, regions and outcomes matter most for New Zealand is an incredibly important debate, however the May budget doesn’t have time to address the complexities of this third horizon and should focus on no-regrets stimulus spending.  

    “The second horizon programme could comprise anything from tree planting to installing home insulation. It also will include a long list of essential public works necessary to sustain the economy and promote local, regional and national wellbeing. 

    Infrastructure New Zealand offers several guidelines for the selection of horizon two, shovel-worthy projects:  

    1. Maintain and upgrade – maintenance contracts tend to be more labour intensive, less complex, and more easily apportioned into smaller pieces so companies of all sizes can participate; 

    2. Invest in no-regrets sectors – some long-term needs won’t change in a post-COVID-19 future (e.g., clean water, healthy homes, safe hospitals); 

    3. Roll projects quickly into programmes – dozens of disconnected projects could unhelpfully compete for labour and supplies. Coherent programmes of work will be more efficient and achieve better value-for-money and outcomes; 

    4. Choose proven delivery models and partners – collaborative techniques (e.g., alliances, early contractor involvement) between trusted partners are ideal for managing risk while moving fast; 

    5. Embrace social procurement – supporting local businesses, apprenticeships, and all parts of our communities can ensure our investments generate wider benefits, even in the short-term; 

    6. Leverage local government – every $1 of extra revenue that the Crown gives to a council can be matched with $2.50 of borrowing, putting $3.50 to work in the economy. Local government should be a key partner to the Crown in fiscal stimulus, but Crown must provide funding to enable the Urban Growth Partnerships promised in its Urban Growth Agenda; 

    These guidelines will ensure that our shovel-ready work is appropriate and does not hinder our future long-term investments. 

    “To enable this rapid work, we will need crucial interim reforms to the RMA, Building Act, and government procurement processes, as well as longer-term comprehensive changes to ensure that we are enabling recovery and innovation in the third horizon and not hampering it. 

    While thimmediate work proceeds, we must be planning investment for the all-important third horizon. 

    “We need to rapidly design, consent, and procure a suite of future-focused projects that meet the needs of a future generations.These projects should not only grow our economy, but also support our country’s long-term health, safety, and cohesiveness. 

    “We also need to find ways to increase private investment for public benefit, just like the Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative so successfully did in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. 

    For better or worse, our country has no shortage of no-regrets projects due to long-standing infrastructure under investment, such as for three waters and affordable and healthy homes.” 

    We need to have a shared vision on what the new New Zealand looks like. But between now and then, we can get going quickly on the no-regrets projects that we all stand behind,” says Blair. 

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 


  • 17 Apr 2020 2:37 PM | Anonymous
    MEDIA RELEASE


    “The Government’s commitment to allow safe construction work to proceed under Alert Level 3 is excellent news, and we encourage all our members to adopt the COVID-19 Construction Protocols recently developed through exemplary industry-government collaboration,” says Paul Blair, Infrastructure NZ CEO.

    “The protocols were developed by construction industry representatives from CHASNZ, WorkSafe, Civil Contractors New Zealand and Registered Master Builders, among others, and under the leadership of the Construction Sector Accord.

    “The protocols comprise a comprehensive set of health and safety guidelines and rules for working under Alert Level 3, in the residential, civil, and vertical construction sectors.

    “We encourage all our members to familiarise themselves with these protocols, available on the CHASNZ website, to both keep workers safe and give them the confidence that it is safe to return to work.

    “Civil Contractors New Zealand is hosting a webinar 9:30am on Monday morning to explain the protocols and answer questions. A limited number of places are available.

    “It is vitally important that all firms follow these protocols. The last thing we want is to cause a return to Level 4 lockdowns.

    “Construction not only improves the built environment and supports our well-being, it also bolsters a host of other infrastructure professions including architects, designers, engineers, investors, lawyers, surveyors, and consultants.

    “Restarting construction will help these firms get back to work and focus will now turn to prioritising a programme of work which meets short, medium and long term objectives

    “We commend both the speed with which industry was able to develop these protocols and the Government’s swift decision making.

    “This crisis has shown how valuable it is to have true partnership between industry and government. We look forward to continued collaboration,” says Blair.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436

  • 09 Apr 2020 3:55 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Hard-hit councils, who oversee half this country’s public infrastructurerequire financial support from central government that is tied to shared priorities through Urban Growth Partnerships,” says Paul Blair CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand. 

    Rates, which some councils are already choosing to freeze or cut, only provide 60% of council revenues, on average. The rest comes from more commercial sources like developer contributions, fees for public services, or dividends from airports, ports, or stadiums. These are being severely hit by COVID-19. 

    This week, Tauranga City Council announced that revenue would be reduced by between 15-25 per cent. Auckland Council could be hit with an even higher reduction. Wellington, Queenstown and many more of our growth councils are in similar positions. 

    “If councils are forced to cut costs (firing contractors, stopping new construction, reducing staff), this lack of cash flow will hurt local economies and consumer confidence even more. 

    Each dollar of lower local government revenue translates to an up to $2.50 reduction in infrastructure investment. Without infrastructure, the much larger housing and development sector cannot acceleratefurther magnifying the short-term economic and long-term social impact 

    Central government funding is urgently required, but this is not a “free lunch” for councilsAs with all good partnerships, both the Government and councils will need to show partnership behaviours, and rapidly align on win-win national, regional and local objectives and outcomes.  

    “We all share a common goal to reinflate the economy and adapt to the new normalUrban Growth Partnerships are a core part of the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda, we now call for these to be funded and delivered at pace.  

    Our Building Regions proposal, which argues for a partnership between central government funding with local decision-making, is more relevant than ever to addressing severe funding challenges for councils through this crisis. Our recent letters to Minister Robertson and to Minister Jones have also made this case in detail.  

    “For decades we have avoided the tough decisions in our local government sector. The Productivity Commission has talked itself hoarse on this issue but the political will from successive governments hasn’t been there to address change. 

    “Local government owns roughly 40% of our infrastructure, the same as central government, but only has a tenth as much money to maintain and upgrade it. Clearly we will need central government partnerships to keep our local economies going. 

    “If the Government can replace, or even enhance, lost council revenue, we can restart local works in local communities at great speed. 

    “Local government is where some of the greatest need is and where the greatest leverage can be exerted. 

    “In these times partnership will be essential. Central and local government need to be working together, not at cross-purposes – he waka eke noa,” says Blair. 


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436

  • 31 Mar 2020 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Professions across the New Zealand infrastructure sector could shed up to 30 per cent of staff over the next 6 months unless immediate measures are taken to protect workers and restart construction,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.

    “We have been speaking with a cross section of our 140+ members over the last two weeks to better understand the impacts of the lockdown on their business and the broader infrastructure sector.

    “Contracting and construction companies could let go of up to 30% of their staff within 3 months under the current conditions.

    “In 6 months, those providing advisory and other support services will be in a similar critical position.


    “The construction sector was already in a precarious position, which the Construction Sector Accord – an industry-government partnership – is working to alleviate.

    “Infrastructure New Zealand has joined the Accord Steering Group. This Group is making positive progress with the Government at the table, listening carefully and rapidly considering ways to support the sector in these challenging and uncertain times.

     “What industry is hoping for is that the kind of on-site health and safety protection measures successfully employed in countries like Singapore and South Korea to keep construction sites open, can be equally successfully applied here.

    “Increased and ongoing Government subsidies might tide the industry over, but the clear mood of the sector is for a staged reduction from Level 4 to 3 and down of the Alert System.

    “If we can agree measures around personal protection over the next 3 weeks, the most essential construction projects could move down to Level 3, allowing work to restart.

    “Many infrastructure companies are talking about weeks rather than months before they risk insolvency. Several have already taken extraordinary measures to cut salaries and reduce employee hours.

    “The infrastructure sector will be essential to New Zealand’s rebuild and recovery. If we can mitigate infection risks and provide for a staged return of construction, New Zealand can emerge from this crisis as quickly as possible,” says Blair.

    Infrastructure New Zealand is hosting a webinar at 4pm today, 31 March, where CEO Paul Blair will provide more details from our discussions with industry and government leaders as well as presenting the results of our online survey. He will also be taking questions from attendees. Please click here to register for the webinar.


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 or Sarah Lang on  021 733 434


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