Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 07 Aug 2019 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Infrastructure New Zealand has announced a strong line up of local and international speakers ahead of this year’s Building Nations Symposium. Underway at Rotorua’s Energy Events Centre from August 21-23, Building Nations 2019 will focus on Building Regions, and how we can make the right investment and policy decisions to position our regions for growth.

    The organisation is bringing several high-profile speakers from the UK and Australia to speak at the Symposium, who will present learnings that New Zealand may be able to apply to resolve our own infrastructure challenges.

    Sir Howard Bernstein, Former CEO of Manchester City Council will speak on his experiences of City Deals in Manchester, and how New Zealand might use the Provincial Growth Fund to help our regions thrive.

    Matt Collins of the Cities Transformation Taskforce, Queensland Treasury will set out the Australian approach to regional development through a case study on the South East Queensland City Deal.

    Professor Andrew McNaughton, Strategic Advisor for HS2 will present learnings from the High Speed Rail 2 Project between Birmingham and London and the possibilities regional rail could unlock for New Zealand. 

    Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland will discuss the benefits of water regulation and how this could lift the performance of New Zealand’s own water sector.

    Hearing these international experts will assist New Zealand’s infrastructure leaders to plan, fund and shape our infrastructure investment, Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood says “Many of the infrastructure challenges that New Zealand is currently facing – traffic congestion, poor performance in the water sector, declining regions - are similar to what is happening around the world. Our current planning and funding framework for infrastructure and regional development is not creating the outcomes we need. The Symposium enables us to learn what other nations are doing to help us resolve these challenges.”

    Alongside these international speakers, Infrastructure New Zealand has announced an impressive list of local speakers for Building Regions who will set out the latest policy developments and market opportunities. Speakers include (among others):

    • Hon Steve Chadwick, Her Worship the Mayor of Rotorua
    • Hon Grant Robertson: Minister of Finance, Minister for Tourism
    • Hon Phil Twyford: Minister for Transport and Housing
    • Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Local Government
    • Sue Bidrose, CEO Dunedin City Council
    • Jim Boult, Mayor of Queenstown
    • Heather Shotter, CEO Palmerston North City Council
    • Amanda Moran, Ministry for the Environment
    • Jon Grayson, Deputy Secretary NZ Treasury
    • Peter Mersi, CEO, Ministry of Transport

    The full programme can be accessed here.

    Other key themes for this year’s Symposium include:

    • Local Government Funding
    • Delivering Affordable Housing at Scale
    • Water Sector Reform
    • Resource Management Reform
    • The Future of Local Government in New Zealand
    • Lifting the Capability of the Infrastructure Sector
    • Regional Rail Connectivity
    • Provincial Growth Fund

    Building Nations is New Zealand’s premier infrastructure conference, attended by 800+ public and private sector infrastructure leaders and a key forum for announcing infrastructure policy and investment decisions. The theme of Building Nations 2019 is Building Regions: how New Zealand can position our regions for growth, fund the investment we need and tackle the challenges facing our housing, water and transport sectors.

    Notes for the editor

    • Building Nations is New Zealand’s leading infrastructure event, managed by Infrastructure New Zealand.
    • Building Nations 2019 will be held at Rotorua’s Energy Events Centre from August 21 to 23.
    • Infrastructure New Zealand is New Zealand’s peak infrastructure body. The organisation’s core purpose is to advance best practice in the development of world class transport, energy, water, telecommunications and social infrastructure for all New Zealanders.
    • HS2 is a rapid rail system currently under construction that will link London and Birmingham to Manchester, the East Midlands and Leeds. It is Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

    For more information about Building Nations click here.

    ENDS

    If you have any queries about Building Nations, please contact:

    Jessica Bell, Communications

    Infrastructure New Zealand

    Jessica.bell@infrastructure.org.nz

    0274 039945
  • 22 Jul 2019 8:03 AM | Anonymous

    Guest Stephen Selwood the CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand. Host Kim Campbell. Watch the video here.

  • 15 Jul 2019 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Andrew Stevens today announced that former BNZ General Manager of Institutional Banking Paul Blair will take over as Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand following the Building Nations Symposium to be held in Rotorua on the 21-23 August.

    “I’m very pleased to announce that Paul Blair, a former board member of Infrastructure NZ and BNZ executive, will move into the role. Paul’s obvious passion for infrastructure and depth of business experience across New Zealand, Australia and UK will ensure the organisation continues to grow and develop in response to New Zealand’s infrastructure needs,” Stevens says.

    “Outgoing CEO Stephen Selwood took an idea for a new business advocacy group and over 14 years turned it into one of New Zealand’s most respected thought leadership organisations. He helped kick off the process for governance reform in Auckland and RMA reform nationally and fought long and hard for the soon to be established New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, among a long list of other achievements.

    “Infrastructure is the physical platform for national well-being and development. It has been a tremendous privilege to lead Infrastructure New Zealand as the peak industry body for such a critical sector,” says Stephen Selwood.

    “I’m looking forward to a continuing contribution in industry governance roles, both public and private. I know that Paul is as passionate about the sector as I am and will now take the organisation to a new level,” Selwood says.

    “I’ve worked with Stephen for a number of years and would like to thank him for his enormous contribution to New Zealand infrastructure. I’m excited to be moving into an organisation and a role with such momentum and opportunity to improve New Zealand’s prosperity, living standards and environment,” Blair says.


    ENDS

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

  • 04 Jul 2019 4:08 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “New Zealand needs a proactive approach to national planning and development to deliver wellbeing,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood.

    “That’s the key recommendation from an Infrastructure New Zealand report released today entitled National Development: Insights from Asia.

    “In March this year, we took 75 infrastructure leaders to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai to see how these cities and countries have been so successful at accommodating growth and lifting national performance”.

    “What we saw was a real wake-up call,” Selwood says.

    “We all know about China’s incredible economic story and most now know that Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

    “But equally striking was the progress each government is making in terms of social and environmental outcomes.

    “The same development model that the Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese governments have successfully used to turn their economies around is now being applied to lifestyle and the natural environment.

    “Cities are becoming cleaner, more sustainable and more liveable.

    “Further, by growing efficiently, costs are being contained to ensure that rising incomes are not consumed by higher accommodation and living costs. Lower costs of living result in more competitive economies and higher disposable incomes.

    “The key to this success is a national development approach to enabling growth and tackling challenges.

    “Singapore and China have become expert in setting a clear vision for national development, defining the outcomes they want the nation to achieve and then delivering on those objectives through joined up agencies, plans and projects.

    “Certainty of planning enables the market to invest with confidence, enabling a virtuous cycle of public and private sector investment. 

    “This approach to national development planning is similar to that which we have seen in successful western democracies like Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia, and across the Australian states.

    “In New Zealand, we don’t manage our economy or our wider society that way.

    “Our system devolves regional and urban planning to councils. Central government provides little guidance as to how best planning can meet national objectives.

    “At the same time, major funding sources, principally GST, income and corporate tax go to central government.

    “This means councils operate on a narrow funding base comprising property rates and user charges with only a weak linkage to economic performance. 

    “Ratepayers typically oppose taxes being increased to pay for growth, so elected officials keep rates low and there is seldom enough money to fund much needed infrastructure.

    “Under pressure to contain costs, councils regulate land supply and defer infrastructure investment. Lack of infrastructure serviced land causes land and home prices to rise resulting in a housing affordability crisis for those on low to median incomes. Increased housing costs mean less disposable income, a decline in well-being and an increase in inequality and other social challenges.

    “Compounding matters further, weak infrastructure imposes costs on business, disincentivises investment and constrains our ability to lift productivity.

    “We all know that Singapore and China have vastly different political systems to New Zealand. But this is no reason why we cannot emulate their ability to set a vision and develop a national plan to unlock the potential of our free market economy.

    “We are a small nation endowed with natural resources and talented people. While we lack scale, we could be agile and able to respond quickly to national opportunities and challenges. This should be New Zealand’s competitive advantage. But to realise this potential we need to lift our vision beyond self-interest and local parochialism and develop a system which incentivises partnership and collaboration.

    “The resource management framework has not only failed the environment, its focus on negative effects has left New Zealand with an unclear vision and pathway for how the country should grow and develop. It must go.

    “We need to simplify local government structure and laws and link funding to investment in regional and national development.

    “Central government has to get back into planning. New Zealand needs a national plan which identifies and enables investment in land, housing, transport and other critical services needed to enable sustainable development and tackle major challenges like climate change.

    “Rather than just managing negative effects, the system should promote environmental restoration and development.

    “Planning is a very powerful tool, so we need to balance centralised power with greater devolution of funding and delivery. We need stronger regions with spatial planning capability and access to GST or a share of income and corporate taxes to fund and deliver their plans.

    “Central government should transition from a funder and provider of services, to an enabler of strengthened regions via strong national guidance.

    “This means substantive change. It’s going to take some time to empower regions to plan, fund and deliver national development. 

    “The first milestone could be for the Government to use financial incentives like ‘city’ or ‘regional’ deals, to incentivise councils to work together, partner with business and promote alignment between national, regional and local objectives.

    “Once benefits of collaboration can be tangibly demonstrated this can be a stepping stone to full reform of our planning laws and the purpose, form and funding of local government.

    “Establishing a system that aligns central, regional and local council planning, funding and delivery and which promotes individual enterprise, entrepreneurship and local identity provides an opportunity to improve wellbeing for all of New Zealand,” Selwood says.

    A copy of the latest Infrastructure New Zealand report National Development: Insights from Asia can be found here

    ENDS

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


  • 04 Jul 2019 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “While the Productivity Commission’s draft report on Local Government Funding and Financing provides some useful recommendations to improve the current system, the report falls short of advancing the level of change need to lift New Zealand’s productivity,” say Stephen Selwood Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “It is pleasing that the Commission has reinforced earlier findings which emphasise the importance of beneficiaries contributing a greater share of local government costs and of the urgent need for three waters services reform.

    “The Commission has also highlighted an opportunity to reduce reporting requirements for councils which are now so onerous as to be counterproductive and has recommended removing rating differentials, something which will be pleasing for business.

    “However, the Commission’s preference for leaving the status quo rates-based system in place is difficult to reconcile with New Zealand’s steadily declining productivity.

    “Just two weeks ago, the OECD showed that New Zealand’s labour productivity has fallen some 15 per cent vis-à-vis Australia and other strong OECD economies over the past 25 years.

    “There is no clear link between the Commission’s recommendations and a turnaround in New Zealand incomes and living standards, despite the critical role local government plays in supporting growth.

    “New Zealand needs to go right back to square one and, instead of asking how best to fund local government, ask who’s best placed to deliver services which promote economic, social and environmental outcomes and with what resources.

    “Currently growth is a problem for many councils. More residents mean more infrastructure costs to councils which they have to pass on to their reluctant constituents while most of the dividend from growth goes to central government in the form of GST, income  and corporate taxes.

    “In other nations like Australia, the US and Europe, states and local government receive a share of general taxes which incentivises them to enable and encourage growth.

    “Cities in the US compete for millennials, private investment and growth because that’s what enables local government to provide improving services.

    “PwC found earlier this year that households in Australian cities are now up to $400 per week better off than they were a decade ago thanks to better growth management. Many households in New Zealand’s growth centres have actually become worse off.

    “One option for the Government could be to set up City Deals like Manchester or Western Sydney. These are designed to incentivise states and councils to work collaboratively to enable growth and when they do will receive a share of the growth dividend from the Government.

    “This could be an inducement to councils to cooperate and develop credible regional development plans designed to lift New Zealand’s productivity.

    “The combination of strengthened national leadership, backed by regional development planning and an agreement for a share of GST to regions who get their act together could be transformational for New Zealand.

    “Tweaking the status quo will help but will not achieve national aspirations for lifting productivity and improving wellbeing,” Selwood said.

    ENDS

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

  • 24 Jun 2019 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Last week’s announcement of a 10 percent year-on-year decline in Auckland’s April dwelling consents and fall in the total number of new homes completed in the last quarter reinforces the importance of urgently implementing the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The 1043 homes consented in April 2019 was down from 1163 in April 2018, according to recent data released by the Auckland Council’s Research and Evaluation Unit.

    “These numbers confirm strong anecdotal evidence coming from the infrastructure and development sector of a slowing in the market.

    “Of the 13,754 homes consented, three quarters were actually certified as being completed in the last year.

    “While up on the preceding rolling twelve months, the total number of certificates of completion dropped from 10,637 in December 2018 to 10,195 in April 2019.

    “This leaves the region shy of delivering the 14,000 homes per year it needs to stay on top of population growth.

    “The total number of dwellings delivered each year now needs to be closer to 20,000 for the next decade if the region is to build the almost 50,000 homes the council estimates Auckland is short.

    “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the market has now turned, just at the point at which consents were almost meeting demand for the first time in a decade.

    “Lack of competitively priced land supply means that it is almost impossible for housing to ever meet demand. Each time it comes close, house prices begin to flatten out and developers are forced to cut output or sell new homes below cost.

    “Supply drops while industry waits for the market to recover and more people get pushed onto the streets.

    “A particularly unfortunate side-effect is that many misinterpret slowing supply as a signal that there is no longer demand in the system.

    “That of course is untrue. There continues to be an enormous demand for homes priced less than $500,000.

    “Half of Auckland’s households earn less than $100,000 per annum. They need homes at $300,000-$500,000, not $600,000 plus. Last year in Auckland, only 5% of house sales were within this price bracket.

    “It’s not just Auckland. Tauranga is just months away from housing system failure. Queenstown cannot accommodate its workforce.

    “The Government’s Urban Growth Agenda is a key part of the solution. Releasing land and providing the tools to fund and finance infrastructure to unlock that land for housing is exactly what is required.

    “The Government can either do this in a targeted way to align developments with transport corridors, or give the market full flexibility but create risks around transport misalignment. If it moves now to secure partnerships with land owners around strategically located land near public transport corridors, it can both improve housing supply and reduce congestion.

    “Aggregating and rezoning rural land adjacent to rail and enabling infrastructure, residential and commercial development at scale will create value that can be passed on to homeowners in the form of affordable house prices.

    “But acting now is imperative before the market softens further and builders pack up tools and move to Australia.

    “The speed at which the Urban Growth Agenda is being implemented is a growing concern. This is the Government’s year of delivery and if it waits any longer before unlocking affordable land supply there is a very high likelihood in a return to rapid house price inflation, and growing homelessness.

    “It is urgent that the Government acts now. The policies are there. They need to be implemented,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 07 Jun 2019 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Infrastructure NZ is delighted to acknowledge the growing number of member organisations nominated as finalists for the 2019 Diversity Awards NZ™, demonstrating the increasing importance the infrastructure sector is placing on diversity and inclusion to help build a future focused industry.

    Given the widely publicised capacity constraints in the infrastructure sector, it is no surprise that a shortage of skills tops the list of the most critical challenges facing the industry. To address this challenge and attract a workforce fit for the future, “the infrastructure industry needs to be seen as a welcoming place that is diverse and inclusive, valuing wellbeing, innovation and career progression”, says Stephen Selwood, CEO Infrastructure NZ. “Entering the Diversity Awards is a bold move and demonstrates a public commitment to driving change in workplace cultures; which research demonstrates, is rewarded by enhanced business performance and employee engagement.”

    The awards, run by Diversity Works New Zealand, are in their 22nd year and celebrate best practice in workplace diversity and inclusion. Judging convenor Neil Porteous says this year the judges chose initiatives that were sustainable and offered long-term benefits, rather than entries based on one-off events. The entries also highlighted the importance of leadership in the diversity and inclusion space, Porteous says. “The panel found the Walk the Talk category difficult to judge as there are so many people standing up and influencing the workplace over and above their job descriptions.”

    This year, Infrastructure NZ members Downer NZ and HSBC NZ were nominated as finalists in the Cultural Celebration Category, where they were commended for their responses to cultural and ethnic engagement in the workplace;

    Vector Ltd was nominated as a finalist in the Diversability Category, which is designed to celebrate innovate responses to positive employment opportunities for people with disabilities;

    Spark was nominated as a finalist in the Emerging Diversity and Inclusion Category which honours a diversity and inclusion initiative that is less than two years old;

    Kensington Swan and Vector Ltd  were nominated as finalists in the Empowerment Category which celebrates innovative responses to empowering women in the workplace;

    GHD was nominated as a finalist in the Positive Inclusion Category, for their innovative response to inclusivity of the LGBTQI community in the workforce:

    Downer NZ and GHD were nominated as finalists in the Tomorrow’s Workforce Category, which celebrates innovative responses to a changing workforce demographic

    Glen Cornelius from Harrison Grierson and Shane Morgan from Watercare Services were nominated as finalists in the Walk the Talk Category, which celebrates leaders who exemplify excellence in promoting and managing a diverse workforce.

    Infrastructure NZ also acknowledges the success of industry association partners Engineering NZ, who were nominated as finalists for the Emerging Diversity and Inclusion Category for the transformational work they are leading across the industry.

    As a member of DiversityWorks, Infrastructure NZ is a strong advocate for member organisations developing diverse and inclusive workplaces by publicising clear targets and metrics on diversity, prioritising action and reporting externally to stakeholders. “We want the infrastructure sector to be the industry of choice”, says Selwood “and the home of the best and brightest minds.”

    Infrastructure NZ congratulates all finalists and wishes them well for the Gala Dinner at the Cordis in Auckland on Wednesday, 28 August, where the winners will be announced.

    ENDS

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


  • 16 May 2019 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Agreement on a 20 year long term transport plan for Wellington to create a liveable, walkable CBD connected by rapid transit looks promising, but needs to be further developed and accelerated ,” says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Commitment by the Government and the Wellington councils to a long term plan is a milestone in itself. The plan is attractive, but it’s not clear from the information provided today when or even if the preferred programme will actually “Get Wellington Moving”.

    “The partnership between the Government, Wellington city and Wellington regional councils commits some $6.4 billion over the next twenty years and will include the delivery of mass transit from Wellington railway station to the airport.

    “There’s no stronger case for mass transit in New Zealand than Wellington’s CBD where up to 45% of the region’s jobs are located. To finally have certainty that a solution will be delivered is extremely positive.

    “Priority must now go to confirming the preferred solution and delivery pathway, as well as revising district plan provisions to enable integrated construction and redevelopment of the corridor.

    “Every effort should be made to deliver mass transit within a decade, not beyond, and ensure that as much of Wellington’s employment and residential growth is catered for by the investment as possible.

    “Wellington can follow international best practice and link rezoning and redevelopment benefits to project funding.

    However, provision of new road capacity through the Terrace tunnel to the inner city bypass and Mt Victoria has been dropped and rapid transit to the airport is not expected to be in place until after 2029, according to the plan.

    “This begs the question - will traffic congestion between the airport and the rest of Wellington be reduced and overall mobility improved? Modelling would normally be produced for an initiative of this size demonstrating the projected impacts on traffic demand and movement.

    “The funding package also raises equity issues. If benefits from the programme are largely urban development and liveability-related, and available evidence suggests that they are, using the over-allocated National Land Transport Fund to pay for these improvements means road investment in Wellington or other projects around New Zealand will have to be deferred.

    “By far the biggest benefits are related to health, liveability and economic productivity. These are important priorities. But if that’s where the benefits lie, shouldn’t that be where the funding comes from, rather than road users?

    “A considerable amount of effort and extensive public consultation has gone into the development of the plan by the region.

    “While we celebrate the positive steps towards its implementation today, it is disappointing that the full transport package, including the roading solutions, have not been included and we desperately need to accelerate the programme to deliver the rapid transit solution sooner rather than later,” Selwood says.


    ENDS

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

  • 09 May 2019 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “A new infrastructure pipeline tool launched today is a positive step towards lifting the productivity of the infrastructure sector,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Stephen Selwood.

    The NZ Treasury launched the first iteration of a national infrastructure project pipeline, detailing 174 projects with an estimated value of $6.1 billion. It can be accessed here.

    The prototype, developed by the Treasury’s Infrastructure Transactions Unit, presents data from five capital-intensive agencies – the Department of Corrections, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the ministries of Education and Health and the New Zealand Defence Force.

    It allows users to filter data using a range of variables, including sector, agency, region, start date and value range, and provides a CSV file to download for further data interrogation.

    The prototype is expected to be followed by several further iterations in the lead-up to the establishment of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, later this year. 

    Over time, the aim is that all central government agencies, as well as local government agencies and many private sector projects will be included in the pipeline.

    “The new tool is extremely welcome,” Selwood says.

    “Certainty of pipeline underpins investment in training, capital equipment and capacity building across the sector, as well as being key to attracting domestic and foreign direct investment.

    “New Zealand has had a traditional construction sector malaise due to boom-bust cycles. This promotes the short-term subcontracting model where firms hold costs to the minimum when the market is slow, under-invest in training, technology and equipment and rely on the subcontracting sector to bring in additional skills when needed.

    "A detailed schedule of what projects will be released, their value and sequencing to market is at the heart of the information that is required to attract investment and deliver the productivity improvements needed to meet infrastructure demand.

    “Consolidating information on the five capital-intensive agencies in one place is a useful start. Data on total volumes, project dollar value, procurement agency and region are all of interest.

    "However, functionality which enables suppliers to aggregate projects and project values by location, sector and sequencing will be desirable in future iterations.

    “Ideally, the pipeline will identify changes over time in investment levels and will include anticipated procurement methodology – infrastructure investors also need an indication of future opportunities.

    “Most of all, the credibility of the pipeline needs to be backed by a serious commitment to projects actually being funded and brought to market within the stated timeline.

    “While some changes in priorities will be expected, for industry to have confidence to invest, there must be confidence in authorities to deliver," Selwood said.


    ENDS

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

  • 06 May 2019 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The PwC Competitive Cities report released today underlines the urgent need for the Government to deliver affordable housing and efficient transport systems in our growing cities,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

    “PwC compared the performance of 11 Australasian growth cities over the last decade and found that households in successfully growing Australian cities have enjoyed significant improvements in discretionary income, relative to New Zealand.

    “Discretionary income is the money left over after tax and spending on housing, transport and other essentials. It provides an insight into the quality of life in each city.

    “Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide households each saw increases of between $300 and $400 per week over the ten years from 2008-2018.

    “New Zealand’s top performing city, Wellington, saw median household discretionary income increase by $137 per week, or around one-third that of Perth.

    “Discretionary incomes in Hamilton, Tauranga and Queenstown increased by around $60-$70 per week, or one-fifth that of Australia’s more successful cities.

    “Even Christchurch, which experienced a devastating series of earthquakes in the assessed period, saw discretionary income increase by $124 a week.

    “But Auckland’s performance is of serious concern. Unlike the other ten cities analysed, discretionary incomes in Auckland actually fell. The median Auckland household now has $96 less in their pocket at the end of each week than they did ten years ago.

    “An additional $5000 a year would make an enormous difference for thousands of households who are struggling to make ends meet.

    “Auckland was the only city to experience both increasing costs and flat income growth. Sydney’s equivalent growth in the cost of living was offset by rising real incomes. Weaker income growth in Tauranga, Queenstown, Hamilton and Melbourne, on the other hand, was ameliorated by smaller growth in the cost of living.

    “The reason for New Zealand’s weaker performance is not explained by Australia’s higher economic and therefore income growth.

    “It is in the cost of living that we have struggled.

    “High urban land prices have increased the amount households and businesses must spend on accommodation and rent. In addition, increasing congestion combined with higher transport taxes and fares have pushed up travel costs, not only for households, but for the producers and sellers of goods and services thereby making our economy less competitive.

    “New Zealand’s failure to manage growth is seeing the standard of living fall further and further behind Australia’s attractive second tier cities.

    “The Government’s well-being budget, urban growth agenda and plans for fundamental review of our planning laws and local government structure and funding have the potential to address systemic problems across New Zealand. 

    “Bi-partisan political support will be needed to enact major reform of our deficient planning, governance and funding system which is the root cause of the problems we are facing.

    Meanwhile, decisive action is now required to address immediate growth pressures.

    “Increasing the supply of land is one critical response. Urban land must be made more affordable in sufficient quantities to attract investment and enable scale.

    “The other critical element is servicing that land with infrastructure so that homes and businesses can be delivered. Plans to enable private financing of infrastructure for housing development need to be accelerated.

    “A step change in the supply of serviced land is urgently needed. With the construction sector operating at close to capacity, productivity improvements are the only real option to deliver the infrastructure and homes New Zealand needs.

    “Clarity of the project pipeline, policy certainty and development at scale are the three essential elements to lifting construction sector productivity and encouraging investment in capital, skills and expertise in New Zealand and from overseas.

    “There really is no time to waste. New Zealand households are already paying $200 per week more than households in Perth to cover the inflated cost of housing. Without urgent action we risk another brain drain simply because our housing markets do not function.

    “New Zealand can materially and significantly lift real incomes, reduce the need for Government transfers and enhance liveability by resolving the growth crisis. This is the Budget where things must start to happen,” Selwood says.

    A link to the PwC report Competitive Cities: A Decade of Shifting Fortunes can be found here.

    ENDS

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

Copyright © 2017 - Infrastructure New Zealand  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software