Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA RELEASES

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

  • 09 Feb 2021 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Andrew Stevens has announced Owen Gill as the new Chief Executive of Infrastructure NZ, effective 9 February 2021.

    Owen joins the organisation with extensive experience in public policy and regulation, both here and in Australia and served as acting CEO at Financial Services Council in 2016. Recently he has worked as a consultant with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, New Zealand Law Society, and the Commerce Commission. In 2019 he wrote the book Turning Point Auckland on the long-term future of the city.

    “Owen joins us at a crucial point for our sector and the board anticipates Owen will assist us - the board, the team, and our members - to accelerate Infrastructure NZ into the rapidly-developing era of infrastructure, and infrastructure policy, in New Zealand.” Stevens says.

    “Government policy and decisions have re-made the infrastructure sector at a rapid pace, over the last 2-3 years. Further, the policy agenda and decisions that are in-front of New Zealand, over the coming 3-5 years, are substantial and will determine the wealth and prosperity of New Zealand into the mid-21st century.

    Infrastructure NZ - as an industry body and think tank - has a substantive role to play in those decisions, and to accommodate the acceleration in the infrastructure sector, to the benefit of New Zealand and Infrastructure NZ's members.” Gill says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Andrew Stevens on 027 245 7730


  • 10 Dec 2020 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Government prioritisation of house prices above the supply, quality and affordability of housing would be a serious concern and would lock in intergenerational inequality, poor productivity and low incomes,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Policy Director Hamish Glenn.

    On Tuesday the Government suggested that retaining and even increasing house prices could become a focus for the Government, something that was not signalled prior to the election.

    “The principal issue with the Government turning its focus to house price increases, or even house price stability, is that the cost of new housing has already inflated well above what it actually costs to deliver a home.

    “In 2017, Infrastructure New Zealand showed that new housing could be integrated with infrastructure services and delivered at scale in Auckland’s south for under $400,000.

    “That homes are selling for around twice this amount reflects choices made by central and local government, including to constrain land and density and to limit both infrastructure investment and the ability of developers to access infrastructure finance.

    “In seeking to protect, let alone increase, house prices, the Government locks these artificially high housing costs in and is effectively asking new homeowners to cover the cost of poor policy.

    “More troublingly, if the reason the Government wants to lock in artificially high housing costs is because it wants to protect the investment portfolios of people who already have homes then we as a society need to take a very long look at ourselves.

    “We have to ask whether this is fair, whether it meets the needs of New Zealanders now and into the future and whether determining prices is the right role for Government.

    “We know that New Zealanders are already paying proportionately the most in the OECD for housing. We know that high rents to pay for large mortgages are consuming the discretionary income of those who do not own property, while increasing property values make homeowners richer, exacerbating inequality.  

    “We also know that the attractiveness of housing investment, partly due to confidence that government will not let prices fall, is attracting capital away from more productive uses leaving the New Zealand economy uncompetitive and incomes low.

    “If there is a risk today to the financial sector from house prices being allowed to return to levels reflecting what it actually costs to deliver housing, then we need to ask, firstly, whether it is right that we ask the next generation to cover the costs of poor decisions by the previous generation. Second, we need to ask whether doubling down at this stage simply makes the problem greater further down the road.

    “Rather than seek to manage prices to levels reflecting past failed policies, the Government should accelerate its own Urban Growth Agenda, which contains a raft of sensible policies to reduce barriers to affordable housing.

    “Better still, the Government could articulate exactly what it wants to achieve in housing, translate that into the number of homes we need, where and when and incentivise and support local authorities to help it achieve its objective.

    “Doing so would improve health and educational outcomes, increase the disposable incomes of families, redirect capital to more productive uses and make New Zealand a fairer and more inclusive country,” Glenn says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 02 Dec 2020 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The infrastructure sector remains hopeful that the Government can deliver on its vision for New Zealand, but quick action on strategy, planning, skills and funding commitment is required,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand. 

    Two weeks ago, Infrastructure New Zealand’s ReBuilding Nations Symposium brought together over 800 infrastructure industry leaders across two days to examine how the country can ‘Build Back Better’. In each session, polls were run with the support of Technology Sponsor Beca to gauge industry priorities and concerns. 

    The clear message from the sector was that the Government must move quickly to demonstrate how it is going to achieve its priorities. 

    “While four out of five respondents felt somewhat or very confident that New Zealand’s leadership has a clear vision for action in our post-COVID recovery, half were not very or not at all confident that the country can deliver its infrastructure pipeline. 

    Over 40% of attendees said that a lack of strategy and planning would hamper our future development. This was followed with equal concern about lack of capability, capacity, and skills and insufficient funding and financing. 

    “Delegates were asked if they thought our country will make the changes necessary to transform and build back better. A quarter did not think so but just over one-half still believe we can – if we get going immediately. 

    “Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Andrew Stevens summarised things best in noting that many of the challenges we heard over the two days of the conference could have been quotes from five years ago, that’s how little has changed,” said Glenn. 

    In responseInfrastructure New Zealand today releases six Policy Priorities for addressing the challenges in our infrastructure system and accelerating the shift from talking to action: 

    1. Establish a National Vision with National Strategic Outcomes 
    2. Build an Infrastructure Strategy designed to achieve the outcomes 
    3. Reform our planning system to align outcomes with spatial planning, funding, and governance 
    4. Develop the skills and human capital needed to deliver the infrastructure pipeline 
    5. Commit funding using incentives, price signals, private capital, and beneficiary pays wherever possible 
    6. Revise governance to ensure organisations charged with infrastructure delivery have the scale, capacity, capability and desire to implement.  

    Rupert Hodson, Beca Northern Regional Manager said, “We are encouraged and excited about the opportunities ahead of us.  

    “This conference has highlighted that we have the policy framework largely in place and the road map to complete it; we know what the challenges are, and the government has set the aspiration to build back better.  

    The challenge for us all now is to grab the opportunity, use the tools we have available and get on with doing it. We’re in this together, and we look forward to what the next few years bring,” said Hodson. 

    To see the entire Beca poll results on topics such as infrastructure resilience, the housing crisis, resource management, and more, click here. 

    To see a copy of Infrastructure New Zealand’s latest report on how the Government can integrate planning and investment to achieve its National Vision, click here. 

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229



  • 30 Nov 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Today’s release of a study showing the benefits of road pricing in Auckland is a step in the right direction, but if we don’t take action and move to implementation, we will be having the same conversation again in another five years,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    The Congestion Question's Phase Two report shows that tolling strategic corridors on the Auckland road network would lead to an 8-12% network improvement, similar to traffic flows during school holidays.

    “This result is unsurprising to anyone familiar with this topic – Stockholm saw sustained 20% reductions in flow after its scheme was introduced – and is consistent with earlier reports on road pricing in Auckland over the last 15 years.

    “Unfortunately, the only thing that has changed in that period is that congestion has become worse.

    “Congestion is not only a problem in Auckland, as Wellington is facing very similar problems going forward, with an even more restricted physical landscape.

    “The Government should investigate how an Auckland solution could be implemented in other regions or indeed nationwide. 

    “The time to act is now. Not only is congestion continuing to worsen, our increasingly efficient vehicle fleet is paying less and less into the National Land Transport Fund, meaning there will be less money to maintain our existing network.

    “The Government needs to consider how road pricing schemes could integrate with broader road user charges for non-fossil fuel vehicles in the future.

    “Our Government has an unprecedented mandate to solve the long-standing issues we are facing. We hope they find the courage to seize the solutions that we have known about for a long time,” says Glenn.

    In 2015 Infrastructure New Zealand featured insights into the successful road pricing scheme in Stockholm, much of which informed today’s report. To learn more about why and how the Stockholm approach to road pricing worked, click here to watch a presentation from Jonas Eliasson, former Head of Stockholm City Transportation Department, that he gave for one of our past Building Nations Symposiums.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 19 Nov 2020 9:14 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Hamilton City Council’s Te Awa River Path Project won the 2020 Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer at the ReBuilding Nations Gala Dinner last night.

    The project repaired and restored a 2.4km section of the Te Awa River Ride path which runs along the western side of the Waikato River, while creating employment for 50 people who had lost jobs due to COVID19.

    Award judge, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and award-winning social and sustainable procurement expert Alice Bray said the Te Awa River Path was an excellent example of an infrastructure initiative that has gone above and beyond to enable outstanding economic, social and cultural outcomes. “Te Awa River project captured the heart of the Excellence in Social Impact Award. Hamilton City Council went above and beyond to provide for those facing unemployment due to COVID19, partnering with their supplier base, other government agencies and their community to create lasting economic and employment outcomes for their region. The swift action and leadership taken by all involved in the Te Awa River project resulted in positive change for the 50 individuals impacted, their whānau and wider community. COVID19 required us to band together to support each other, a mission that this project absolutely succeeded in.”

    Hamilton City Council (HCC) was granted funding by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Growth Fund in June 2020 to enhance a section of the much-loved Te Awa River Ride Pathway, which connects key destinations and green spaces throughout the city and provides important recreation opportunities for Hamiltonians. HCC sourced workers for the project from the Ministry of Social Development, with a focus on employing those who were out of work due to the COVID19 pandemic.

    Another aim of the project was to provide workers with skills they could use in future employment. 17 workers completed HCC’s five-day Road Ready training programme aimed at preparing workers for careers in the construction sector and equipping them with transferrable skills they could use for life.

    Recognising the importance of the Waikato’s awa (rivers and waterways) to Iwi, HCC partnered with Waikato-Tainui and Ngati Haua Trust to deliver the training programme and project.

    Infrastructure New Zealand Board Member and award judge Tracey Ryan said the Te Awa River project demonstrated a clear intention and genuine impact, “Hamilton City Council achieved a range of outcomes with the Te Awa River Path project – enhancing the environment to make Hamilton a great place to live, work, play and visit, while providing immediate support and recovery to people who had lost jobs due to COVID19. HCC also provided an important boost to the local economy by letting 100% of the contract value to local businesses.”

    Hamilton City Council was chosen from 18 other entries to win the Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer.


    Several other projects also received special awards:

    Highly Commended

    • Auckland Council-owned Healthy Waters and Māori SME Height Project Management for their Sustainable Outcomes Toolkit, a user-friendly resource to help procuring organisations identify social outcomes opportunities, embed them in the tender process and evaluate and measure them.
    • Citycare for their partnership with the Student Volunteer Army to fund community impact projects and their commitment to creating employment opportunities for Māori and Pasifika, the long-term unemployed, the disabled, youth and women prisoners finishing their sentences.

    Special Award - Contribution to the Industry

    • Mates in Construction for its contribution to the construction industry in reducing the over representation of suicide and poor mental health.


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Sarah Lang on 021 733 434


  • 18 Nov 2020 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “To achieve the outcomes the Government wants, it will have to define them, publish them and incorporate them in a new combined strategic and land use planning Act,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    Infrastructure New Zealand has released a new white paper today at the Building Nations Symposium in Auckland. The report outlines how the New Zealand Government can shift from a largely budget-focused and inputs-based system to an aspirational goal-setting system which promotes outcomes and wellbeing.

    “It’s one thing to say we want healthy, affordable homes, or to have a productive, net-zero carbon economy, but without a strategy for achieving these goals, we will never get there.

    “We have looked at a number of leading jurisdictions overseas. Three Governments pursue an approach targeting outcomes and wellbeing similar to the aspirations of New Zealand: Scotland, Ireland and Hong Kong.

    “They each apply the same basic formula and this provides important insights into how New Zealand can not only aspire to, but actually achieve, the outcomes everyone wants.

    “First, the Governments clearly identify and define the national strategic outcomes they want prioritised.

    “Second, they develop an integrated spatial and investment framework which translates the outcomes into a real-world representation of what is required to achieve the vision.

    “Third, they ensure the investment required to encourage and incentivise development in alignment with national direction is funded.

    “For New Zealand to achieve outcomes, we need to do the same.

    “We need the priority outcomes the Government wants to achieve clearly defined and articulated. We need infrastructure to be integrated with spatial and land use planning to understand future needs, and we need commitment to implementation.

    “A barrier we face, however, is that neither the Resource Management Act in its current form, nor the recent recommendations of the review panel support this type of approach.

    “Misalignment of vision, strategic and land use planning and of planning with investment will impede the Government’s outcomes aspirations.

    “New Zealand will remain dependent on regulation to stop what we don’t want. What we need is a system where we incentivise and enable what we do want.

    “To shift New Zealand to a system of government which not only aspires to but achieves outcomes and wellbeing, the Government should:

    • Urgently develop a set of National Strategic Outcomes which collectively represent the Government’s vision for wellbeing.
    • Direct the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission / Te Waihanga to develop its infrastructure strategy with a view to enabling the National Strategic Outcomes.
    • Complete reform of resource management statute, bringing together strategic and land use planning and developing dedicated environmental protection statute.

    “With the right approach New Zealand can leverage COVID investment to build back better and provide all of government, business and individuals with the leadership needed to achieve shared objectives,” says Glenn.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 28 Oct 2020 9:21 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Infrastructure New Zealand’s flagship event Building Nations won the Best Corporate Event Award at the New Zealand Event Association Awards (NZEA) at the Civic Theatre’s Winter Garden last night.

    More than 105 entries were received for the highly coveted awards, recognising Building Nations as one of New Zealand’s leading business events.

    Infrastructure New Zealand Board Chair, Andrew Stevens said the award was testament to the efforts of the Infrastructure New Zealand team, “It’s hard to believe how far we have come, from our very first Building Nations Symposium at Villa Maria in 2006 with a mere 40 delegates, to the premier event on the infrastructure calendar that attracts so many delegates only a handful of venues in the country can accommodate us.”

    Stevens also reiterated the importance of Building Nations’ sponsors in consistently delivering a high-quality event, especially premier sponsor ANZ ,“This award is for our sponsors as much as it is for Infrastructure New Zealand. Without their support, an event like Building Nations just wouldn’t be possible – especially in a year as turbulent as this one.”

    Building Nations 2019 was also a finalist in the Best Local Government Event and Best International Event award categories and Infrastructure New Zealand Event and Member Services Director Sally Bunce was a finalist in the Established Event Professional Award, recognising her skill and experience in delivering high-end events.

     Infrastructure New Zealand interim Chief Executive John Rae said Sally consistently raised the bar each year at Building Nations and the other events she facilitates for Infrastructure New Zealand. Sally has an exceptional understanding of what it takes to deliver a highly complex and high-profile conference programme while seamlessly managing suppliers, sponsors, presenters, and delegates. Her innovation and professionalism have given our events a ‘wow’ factor and made Infrastructure NZ well known for its quality delivery, industry leadership and expertise.”

    Building Nations is New Zealand’s premier infrastructure event, attended by 700+ private and public sector infrastructure leaders. ReBuilding Nations 2020 will be held at Henderson’s Trusts Arena on November 18 and 19, with the theme of Building Back Better.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Sarah Lang on 021 733 434
  • 27 Oct 2020 3:02 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Infrastructure New Zealand has announced the finalists of the 2020 Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer, recognising infrastructure projects that have gone above and beyond to enable outstanding social, cultural and/or economic outcomes for our communities.

    The finalists have shone a spotlight on best-practice in social impact and provide an exemplar to other organisations in what can be achieved, says Margaret Devlin Infrastructure NZ Board member and award judge, “Infrastructure New Zealand wants to normalise social impact in infrastructure projects. With the significant volume of projects coming to market to contribute to New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19, we have a huge opportunity to make a meaningful difference for our communities.”

    Infrastructure NZ Board member and Award judge Tracey Ryan said it was pleasing to see the broad range of impact initiatives underway across the sector, “That we had 19 strong entrants in this award is powerful evidence of the step change happening in the sector to use infrastructure projects as a lever for broader social, economic and cultural outcomes,” said Tracey.

    The finalists are:

    • Hamilton City Council’s Te Awa River Path project, which repaired and restored a section of the Hamilton Cycle Trails while providing employment to 50 people who had lost jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis.
    • Watercare’s Central Interceptor is delivering a lasting legacy for Tāmaki Makarau and their workforce, by supporting social enterprise Make Give Live; establishing a Dig Deep literacy programme to help members of the workforce build reading and writing skills; establishing and funding the Morningside Urban Market Garden; developing a Mana Whenua laundry service; providing opportunities for Māori and Pasifika through a youth internship programme and creating the Wānanga Māreikura programme to empower wāhine Māori.
    • City Rail Link’s (CRL) Progressive Employment Programme supports Māori and Pasifika youth transition into work. CRL partnered with Lifewise, Rising Foundation and Te Ara Rangatahi to deliver a 19-week programme which helps rangatahi build skills and gain confidence in the workforce.
    • Auckland Transport and Makaurau marae demonstrated a step change in supplier diversity by tendering the Makaurau Marae Carpark project only to Māori and Pasifika businesses through He Waka Eke Noa.

    Downer celebrates 150 years in New Zealand this year and has a strong history of social impact. EGM Strategy and Development, Duncan Kenderdine, says “Downer is focussed on building a stronger New Zealand and we see social impact as a key element of the way we do business. It was clear from the calibre of entries in the award that each would have a transformational impact on their local community. In a year with many challenges, it helps to share the load and keep our communities healthy and in meaningful employment."

    Award judge, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and award-winning social and sustainable procurement expert Alice Bray said the calibre of all entries was high, “My hope is that this award solidifies where our sector is going, inspires us to think bigger, and challenges us to partner together for impact.”

    Peer Review judge Dr Seán Barnes, Director, Social Procurement, Akina Foundation said the award celebrates how far the sector has come and challenges us to continue, "Aotearoa is increasingly looking to use social procurement as a tool to deliver greater social and environmental outcomes through infrastructure spend, and the Infrastructure NZ Excellence in Social Impact Award is timely to showcase the success being achieved. The finalists demonstrate real leadership, the different ways impact can be achieved, and show us what is possible moving forward."

    The winner of the Infrastructure New Zealand Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer will be announced at the ReBuilding Nations Gala Dinner on Wednesday 18 November.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Sarah Lang on 021 733 434 


  • 07 Oct 2020 12:37 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The reopening of eight lanes of traffic on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge is a welcome sight and provides the opportunity for a considered and independent examination of all Waitematā Harbour crossing options by the Infrastructure Commission,” says Hamish Glenn Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “That a steel strut some 6 storeys high could be manufactured, transported and installed into one of New Zealand’s most heavily utilised and critical infrastructure assets in such a short period is something to celebrate.

    “It buys the Upper North Island some time – time which must be spent wisely if Auckland is to limit future disruptions to travel and the national economy is to be supported into the future.

    “A review into the transport and wider infrastructure demands of the Upper North Island will need to be initiated by the incoming Government with some urgency.

    “Current expectations are that some form of loading restriction will need to be placed on heavy vehicles using the bridge by around 2030 as the structure reaches its maximum safe weight limit. By 2046, some 27,000 trucks are anticipated to want to cross the harbour every day. The additional time and cost to use the Western Ring Route is estimated at $40 per trip, or around $400 million per annum.

    “To have a new crossing operational by 2030, critical decisions on that crossing’s form and alignment will need to be made within the term of the next Government.

    “If a harbour crossing solution is required by 2030, as available evidence suggests, this will impact imminent decisions on the Northern Pathway project. We may be better off bundling the pathway project into a comprehensive multi-modal option and providing for active modes on either the new structure or, as proposed in 2010, repurposing a lane of the existing bridge

    “These are ‘now’ decisions, not future decisions. They will impact not just transport, but infrastructure and development across Auckland and wider economic activity in the Upper North Island.

    “They need to be coordinated with a long term plan for the economy, society and the environment.

    “It is appropriate that the Government’s specialised infrastructure advisor Te Waihanga – the Infrastructure Commission evaluates the options for a new crossing to ensure the best long term decision is made for all New Zealand.

    “Should the crossing be just rail, just road or both? We will need to understand how we move across the harbour, particularly in a new post-COVID world.

    “What solution will unlock developable land and help address Auckland’s housing crisis? The last detailed published analysis of harbour crossing demand was in 2010, in the midst of the GFC. Since then, we’ve seen record population growth, a new district plan and now a National Policy Statement on Urban Development.

    “What form should that crossing take and where should it land? Recent analysis has shown that an additional crossing which does not address the issue of constraints at the northern and southern approaches to the bridge will have a limited impact on network flow and resilience. Are there other alignments which could remove or reduce the dependency on these corridors and could they help achieve wider transport and economic objectives for the region?

    “The Infrastructure Commission has the experience and independence required to answer these questions – which are bigger than Auckland, bigger than transport and bigger than any single Government – with the best available information.

    “The next Government should instruct the Commission to rigorously analyse options which will best meet the needs of New Zealanders now and into the future,” Glenn says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229 


  • 02 Oct 2020 3:24 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “City and regional infrastructure partnerships would go a long way to depoliticising investment decision-making and supporting regional development,” says Infrastructure NZ Policy Director Hamish Glenn.

    “Today, ACT announced its intention to establish partnerships between central and local government to fund and deliver agreed infrastructure programmes.  

    “The proposals are consistent with Infrastructure New Zealand’s 2019 Building Regions report which sets out comprehensive reform for how the country plans, funds, and delivers infrastructure.

    “Partnerships would empower regions to deliver infrastructure according to a 30-year plan which they would co-develop with central government.

    “Central government would monitor performance and provide funding where regional and central goals aligned.

    “Flexible funding through shared GST, increased user charges, as well as existing tools such as local rates, central government funding, and PPPs, would give regions certainty about their options and allow them to strategically plan development according to both future demands and possible revenue.


    “Ideally, these partnerships would be aligned with the Infrastructure Commission’s 30-year strategy and implemented via a reformed planning system.

    “It’s pleasing to see political momentum growing for new incentive-based approaches to solve New Zealand’s longstanding growth and development challenges.

    “We cannot as a country expect to overcome the issues of the past and recover from COVID using the same approaches which gave rise to simultaneous housing, transport and water crises.

    "A partnership approach which improves infrastructure decision making, supports regional development and enables collaboration with local government should be a priority for all political parties," says Glenn.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229 



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