Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 31 Aug 2018 5:12 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The National Land Transport Programme announced today sees a significant shift in the allocation of road user charges and fuel taxes away from road users to public transport users and raises questions about the future of the state highway network,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

    “Many city dwellers will welcome the Government’s positive focus on public transport, walking and cycling. And while road users will be pleased with the focus on safety, they will be scratching their heads wondering where their Road User Charges (RUC) and Fuel Excise Duty (FED) payments are going.

    “State Highway capital expenditure is down $630m (18%) on the previous three years expenditure. This is a major concern noting that vehicle kilometres travelled on state highways is increasing rapidly – up one billion kilometres (5%) just last year.

    “Coupled with the Government’s Policy Statement for transport which sees state highway capital investment halved from a peak of $1.4 billion in 2018/19 to just $600m by 2025, this represents a major shift in transport funding away from road to public transport users.

    “If vehicle kilometres travelled on the state highway network continue to grow in the next decade as they have in the last decade (and all evidence suggests this will be the case) then we are likely to face a significant state highway infrastructure deficit in coming years.

    “Such a trend will increase the likelihood of another radical shift in transport prioritisation with the next change of government.

    “The good news is that local and regional road improvements are up in today’s announcement, as is road maintenance across state highways and local roads, all of which will be welcomed by road users especially in the provinces.

    “Expenditure on road safety promotion and demand management is up 79% and road policing up by 10% on previous years so transport users can expect to see a lot more advertising on media channels and police on the roads.

    “But the major gain is investment in public and rapid transit and walking and cycling which more than doubles from $1.2 billion expenditure on the last three years to $2.5 billion this time around.

    “It is good to see this investment happening, but much more needs to be done to capture value from public transport beneficiaries.

    “The Government’s focus on increased density and improved public transport will, perversely, increase the value of urban land, driving up the cost of housing and transport investment.

    “Price signals are required to ensure our transport system remains fundable and that the beneficiaries of policy pay their fair share.

    “It is clear that new funding and financing mechanisms are required to keep up with sorely needed investment in transport,”  Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021791209


  • 30 Aug 2018 12:02 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    A Beca-sponsored poll of infrastructure leaders at the recent Infrastructure New Zealand Building Nations Symposium indicates confidence is growing that New Zealand can meet its infrastructure challenges, but suggests there needs to be greater detail shared with industry and the community around plans to address Auckland’s infrastructure needs. Respondents also believe that there needs to be greater urgency from all parties to implement those plans.

    Over 700 industry leaders attended the Symposium and the Beca poll enabled delegates to provide real-time feedback on the key issues on the agenda.

    Three-quarters of respondents felt New Zealand’s infrastructure situation will improve over the next five years.

    Infrastructure NZ CEO Stephen Selwood said, “This high level of confidence reflects the Government’s announcement shortly before the poll that it will move forward with an independent infrastructure entity. The infrastructure body initiative was supported by almost 90 per cent of respondents. Concerns over weak procurement capability across the sector and uncertainty over the long term capital programme make the establishment of this new entity a high priority.

    “The Government’s signals that it will reform the water sector are also assisting industry confidence. Less than 5 per cent of polled respondents felt the water sector should remain in its current state, with almost four out of five infrastructure leaders supporting consolidation of water supply and wastewater into one or several large dedicated providers.

    “However, there remains significant sector concern over the ability of Auckland to meet the region’s two big challenges: housing and congestion.”

    Three-quarters of respondents felt Auckland could not meet its transport and housing affordability needs under the current plan and almost four out of five felt that the $28 billion Auckland Transport Alignment Programme (ATAP) would not be sufficient to meet growth.

    Rupert Hodson, Beca’s Northern Regional Manager, said, “Investment in light rail is a key component of ATAP and the results indicate that industry may need further information and engagement around the objectives and outcomes that light rail seeks to deliver. Light rail can be immensely valuable in supporting urban regeneration and intensification outcomes and accelerating transport mode shift through these corridors, which can deliver long term improvements in congestion, housing supply and affordability for Auckland.”

    Around 90 per cent of respondents thought light rail would have some degree of impact on improving congestion, but around half also thought it will make housing less affordable along the serviced corridors.

    Delegates identified the top three areas to address congestion as public transport investment, road pricing and intelligent transport systems.

    Delegates agreed that the existing Metropolitan Urban Limit in Auckland has largely failed to promote a quality, compact, accessible city, with 81% believing that it has had a zero to negative impact on congestion in the city, and 89% citing a zero to negative impact on housing affordability.

    “All in all, the polling suggests some positive changes are being made which gives confidence to the infrastructure industry that we can get on top of the big issues nationally, but further efforts to address Auckland’s transport and housing needs are required,” added Hodson.

    The full Beca polling results can be viewed here.


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209 and Rupert Hodson on 027 292 0796


  • 17 Aug 2018 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    HE Ms Wu Xi, China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, today announced that Infrastructure New Zealand will be leading a senior delegation to China, Hong Kong and Singapore in March 2019. 

    The key topics will be road pricing, new cities development, master planning, integrated urban development at scale and value capture. 

    "China has built up enormous capability in recent years in infrastructure technology, safety and sustainability," says Stephen Selwood chief executive of Infrastructure NZ.

    "Improvements have been made without compromising the speed of decision making or the ability of infrastructure delivery agencies to implement.

    "We are very interested to understand how they have been able to achieve this, while at the same time integrating across multiple infrastructure portfolios and aligning development aspirations with public services. 

    "Each of the three destinations has been far more successful than New Zealand in aligning transport investment with urban development, including capturing the value of development to fund major rapid transit improvements. 

    "Hong Kong’s MTR is famous for above station redevelopment and operates one of the only self-funding public transport systems in the world. 

    "Singapore’s infrastructure planning and investment programme is the global benchmark, and we are especially interested in their new road pricing initiative.

    "When operational, it will become the world’s first comprehensive road pricing network, allowing variable pricing to optimise traffic flows. 

    "In addition to understanding how infrastructure and development are aligned and delivered, the delegation will provide an excellent opportunity to strengthen business relations across the countries.

    "The delegation will take place over two weeks and be modular, allowing representatives to take part in either the Hong Kong-Singapore leg, or the China leg, or both. 

    "This will be our largest ever delegation and will complement recent trips to the USA, UK and Canada," Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 17 Aug 2018 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones’ confirmation that the Government will establish an independent infrastructure entity – an i-body – is very positive news and warmly received by industry,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure NZ.

    “The Minister today announced that a new entity would be created to provide expert advice, planning and strategy, support the delivery of major infrastructure projects across the country and act as the golden thread between the various pieces of work this Government is undertaking.

    “The Minister indicated the new entity will become a one-stop shop for investors, linking people to procuring entities and informing them about our regulatory and market settings.

    “This is a major step forward for the Government and a wider sector challenged by long term pipeline uncertainty and procurement capability.

    “The i-body will consolidate infrastructure expertise, creating a home for high calibre officials who can specialise in the procurement of highly complex public works.

    “We are particularly pleased that the Minister confirmed that the i-body will have independence and strategic capability, meaning it will not only assist in the delivery of infrastructure, but provide advice to the Government on key sector issues and help develop a whole-of-government project pipeline.

    “A long term sightline of what investments the Government intends to make, noting there will always be changes in priorities and needs, is critical for the sector to invest in skills and equipment.

    “At the Building Nations Symposium this morning, we heard from experts from the UK and Australia, two countries which have recently adopted and rapidly expanded the i-body approach.

    “The model has been very successful in these two countries at reducing waste, improving long term decision making and supporting a much healthier and more competitive industry.

    “We expect that over the medium term, the i-body will lead a sustained improvement in the skills and capacity of infrastructure professionals within not only Government, but the private sector too, as suppliers benefit from clearer direction, greater consistency and better risk allocation.

    “This is a real opportunity to use the Government’s scale to effect a true industry-wide transformation of the way we plan, fund, finance, deliver and operate critical services,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 17 Aug 2018 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "Major issues affecting the construction and wider infrastructure sector are the result of weak procurement capability across the board and strengthened government expertise and leadership is required to drive an overall lift in industry performance," says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood. 

    This is the overall conclusion from a new Infrastructure New Zealand-commissioned research report by Entwine into major project procurement.

    The report draws on in-depth feedback from leading infrastructure procurement experts across the public and private sectors and is supported by the Construction Strategy Group and Civil Contractors New Zealand.

    “Poor procurement invariably impacts on every aspect of a project and usually leads to poor quality outcomes and increased whole of life costs. The absence of a strong pipeline of work and the focus on lowest cost has had a massive negative impact on construction industry skills and capability. Improved procurement is the key to resolving these issues and needs to be addressed urgently,” says Civil Contractors CEO Peter Silcock. 

    "Top performing procurement agencies have specialised staff who manage a long and consistent pipeline of work with transparent, standardised processes but carefully selected models to optimise risk, maintain a competitive market and deliver maximum value from public investment.

    "It is clear we need a whole-of-system response to the way public agencies procure services from the private sector and incremental or one off changes to procurement processes will not be sufficient,” says Construction Strategy Group Chair Geoff Hunt.

    "What is clear from the research is that a huge amount of opportunity exists within the public sector procurement space. Value is created for New Zealanders during both the asset creation and the asset in use. Smart procurement is the key to maximising this value. This is not a public vs private zero sum game. Instead purposefully managed change can very much be a win-win for all parties,” says report author Leah Singer.

    Selwood says, "we've been guilty in New Zealand of forgetting that the purpose of public investment is exactly that – to invest – and we've prioritised cost cutting to the detriment of the bigger picture.

    "Fit for purpose has become less important than fit for budget, with the true price being higher long term cost and under-performing public services.

    "By following through on its intention to establish an independent specialist procurement agency – an "i-body" – the Government will be able to address the major risks confronting its large infrastructure programme and the wider industry. 

    "As the repository for procurement expertise nationally, the i-body will harbour and develop career professionals in procurement.

    "They can then provide advice and support to all public agencies, leading an immediate and rapid improvement in procurement capability across the entire public service, starting with our biggest, most complex and highest risk projects.

    "Combining this technical expertise with a national strategic function, including the preparation of a national project pipeline, will spread the benefit of the i-body across the wider industry.

    "A key finding in the report is that private sector procurement capability also needs some support so that the industry can better assess risk and position itself appropriately for the work ahead.

    "Lifting procurement expertise across New Zealand is an immediate priority given the huge investment required in coming years. This will help us to both maximise benefits and enable projects to be delivered more quickly and efficiently," Selwood says.

    ENDS

    To read the full report, please click here. 

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

  • 16 Aug 2018 10:57 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s Urban Growth Agenda tackles the key issues holding back development in New Zealand and warrants support across the political spectrum,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    At the Infrastructure New Zealand Building Nations Symposium this morning, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford restated the Government’s commitment to addressing housing affordability and supply challenges via the five pillars of the Urban Growth Agenda:

    1. Infrastructure funding and financing – to enable a more responsive supply of infrastructure and appropriate allocation of cost.
    2. Urban Planning – to allow cities to make room for growth, support quality built environment and enable strategic integrated planning. 
    3. Spatial planning to build a stronger partnership with local government as a means of developing integrated spatial planning.
    4. Transport pricing – to ensure the price of transport infrastructure promotes efficient use of the network.
    5. Legislative reform – to ensure that regulatory, institutional and funding settings are collectively supporting the UGA objectives.

    “This is a comprehensive programme and represents the first system-wide attempt to address the causes of the housing and wider urban development crisis.

    “The proposed changes are not inconsistent with National’s reform intentions when it was in government. It would be great to see cross party support for change to finally breakthrough the current stranglehold on effective planning, decision making and investment in New Zealand.

    “Successive legislation, principally the RMA (Resource Management Act 1991), the LGA (Local Government Act 2002) and the LTMA (Land Transport Management Act 2005), has disaggregated growth decision making, funding and delivery.

    “In places where we’ve had land, we’ve had no infrastructure. In places with infrastructure, we’ve had no zoning. In places with zoning, we’ve had no demand.

    “The Urban Growth Agenda knits together the key elements needed to turn a section of land into a new home or business, but only if it’s implemented in full and without delay.

    “There is strong industry support to tackle infrastructure funding and financing, and the use of off-balance sheet project financing vehicles now needs to be ramped up and rolled out.

    “Well signalled Government commitments to introduce road pricing and open up land for development are now overdue. These initiatives are critical to tackling congestion, addressing land banking, reintroducing scale to the development market and delivering affordable, accessible housing.

    “New Zealand cannot afford continued political stand-off on these important issues. Auckland alone is 50,000 homes short of what it needs to house its population and that number has increased 10 per cent in the last year.

    “The housing and infrastructure crisis will continue to get worse until a substantive change agenda is fully implemented.

    “To the extent that the reform programme may cross Parliamentary terms of government, bi-partisan support will be central to success,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 14 Aug 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The country’s largest infrastructure conference, the annual Infrastructure New Zealand Building Nations Symposium, gets underway Thursday 16 August at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.

    “With over 600 registered delegates, this is our largest ever conference and couldn’t come at a more important time for an industry experiencing a mix of ups and downs,” says Infrastructure NZ chief executive Stephen Selwood.

    “Representatives from across central and local government, infrastructure operators and the many contractors, investors and professional service providers who make up the infrastructure sector will gather over two days to hear from Prime Minister Ardern, four Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, three mayors and deputy mayors, China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, the UK’s Minister for Investment, seven other international speakers and over 30 sector leaders.

    “There is quite a degree of excitement about the emerging infrastructure programme, but also some lingering uncertainty about the timing and distribution of work.

    “Industry will be looking to the very strong Government contingent to give confidence to the path ahead.

    “Infrastructure funding and financing, regional and urban transport and development, infrastructure capability and reform of planning and water are all key issues for the sector, so presentations from Ministers Robertson, Twyford, Jones and Mahuta will be keenly observed.

    “We are privileged to have a number of government infrastructure body leaders over from Australia and the UK to discuss how specialised procurement and strategic infrastructure planning capability can improve public investment.

    “Tackling Auckland’s growth crisis, most notably congestion and the housing crisis, is a key topic for delegates, both as residents and as employers finding it challenging to attract and retain staff. Presentations from the Auckland Council and Ministry of Transport provide an opportunity to demonstrate how authorities are addressing key public concerns.

    “Current policy priorities including the roll out of rail, construction productivity and procurement, transport funding, technology and governance reform will all be discussed.

    “This is our largest ever programme and our biggest ever event, a sign that infrastructure remains the outstanding priority for New Zealand,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 30 Jul 2018 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE 

    “The National Construction Pipeline report issued today by MBIE shows infrastructure investment projections down dramatically on those of 2017, highlighting the problem of uncertainty in the infrastructure sector and raising serious questions about New Zealand’s ability to service new housing,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of infrastructure New Zealand.




    “BRANZ research shows last year's spending was down 9% on the 2017 projections. While their research indicates an increase in capital intentions in the near term, they also show a subsequent drop-off from the beginning of 2021. Putting the initial bump aside, overall infrastructure capital expenditure is forecast to flatline over the next five years.

    “The Capital Goods Price Index (CGPI) has been rising at 3 per cent over the past decade, suggesting there could be even less investment in infrastructure in the early 2020s than there is today – and we already know that we’re well short of where we need to be.

    “Auckland, a city buckling under the pressure of growth compounded by decades of infrastructure underinvestment, will, even with major Government investments announced to date, fall in real terms over the next five years.

    “BRANZ projections show that construction activity is projected to fall everywhere outside of Auckland over the next couple of years.

    “We will not be able to address homelessness and meet growth with less infrastructure investment. Homes need pipes, roads and cables and new approaches to infrastructure investment need to be implemented.


    “This is a very timely report and provides a clear signal to Government that it needs to move up a gear with urgency.

    “There are projects in the pipeline sitting there waiting for signoff, including Mill Rd, Penlink and the East West Link in Auckland as well as components of Let’s Get Wellington Moving and major upgrades to the SH2 corridor north of Tauranga among other state highway projects nationwide.

    “These projects are needed for homes, tourism and regional economic development.

    “If the government chooses not to fund these and other projects itself, it needs to allow private capital to be deployed to accelerate investment in transport, water and social infrastructure to support housing and growth,” Selwood says.

    A copy of the National Construction Pipeline can be found here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/publications-research/research/construction-sector-productivity/national-construction-pipeline-report-2018.pdf

    ENDS

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


  • 27 Jul 2018 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The importance and value of arm’s length infrastructure advice to Government to assist infrastructure decision-making will be the keynote topic at this year’s Building Nations Symposium,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Katie Black from the National Infrastructure Commission in the UK, Jim Betts from Infrastructure NSW, Michael Masson from Infrastructure Victoria, Allan Garcia from Infrastructure Tasmania and Anna Chau from Infrastructure Australia will all be discussing national infrastructure leadership and strategy on Day 2 of the conference.

    “McKinsey Global Institute has found that up to 40 per cent of infrastructure spending globally is not spent effectively because of issues with infrastructure strategy, governance and capability.

    “The potential gains for New Zealand are significant.

    “Even just a five percent improvement achieved through good project selection, streamlined delivery and optimising assets could generate $5 billion in added value on the $100 billion infrastructure investment that is planned over the next ten years.  

    “With such large demands on transport, water and social infrastructure up and down the country, putting in place the measures to support improved strategic capability and procurement must be a priority.

    “Each of the political systems closest to ours – Australia, the UK and Canada – have achieved significant improvements in infrastructure efficiency with arm’s length centralised infrastructure agencies.

    “Entities like Infrastructure Australia and the UK National Infrastructure Commission provide strategic advice to Government decision makers and help build public consensus and bi-partisan political support on long-term infrastructure needs and challenges.

    “Organisations like the Scottish Futures Trust, Infrastructure Ontario and the “I-bodies” in Australia support central and local infrastructure providers to deliver complex projects efficiently, helping to reduce the chance of cost blowouts and improving joined-up thinking with other public providers.

    “These bodies bring together the best expertise from the public and private sectors to support multiple projects at any one time up and down the country.

    “The combination of hands-on infrastructure delivery expertise with long-term strategic planning consolidated in a single independent infrastructure body can help New Zealand meet its growth challenge.

    “Giving the body arm’s length independence from a defined Ministry frees up officials from reporting and administration and allows them to focus on making operational improvements.

    “Decision making always remains with responsible Ministers, Mayors and other infrastructure leaders, but they all can benefit from improved advice and support from career professionals who understand infrastructure,” Selwood says.

    Building Nations is New Zealand’s largest annual infrastructure industry conference and will take place at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on August 16-17.

    ENDS

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

  • 24 Jul 2018 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into local government funding and financing is welcome, but it is concerning to see the Terms of Reference will constrain an objective assessment of all options,” says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “It is particularly disappointing that ‘asset recycling’ – the process of selling down public shareholding in one public asset in order to invest in another more valuable asset – has been precluded from the terms of reference.

    “Asset recycling is enabling Australia to respond faster and much more effectively to their growth challenge than New Zealand.

    “New South Wales alone will spend AU$14.7 billion on transport improvements this year compared to around $3 billion across New Zealand – twice what we are on a per capita basis. It has been able to do this by selling down nearly $50 billion of underperforming assets in the last five years and using the proceeds to deliver heavy rail, light rail and roading, as well as urban redevelopment, schools and health investment.  

    “With better services and fewer public funding constraints on development, the Aussies are addressing homelessness and deprivation whilst investing tens of billions in road and rail transport infrastructure.  

    “Research has shown the asset recycling programme in New South Wales has very high public support - 61 per cent, with only 9 per cent opposed - when people understand why the programme is in place and where the money is going.

    “High growth councils around New Zealand would provide a much better public service by selling down shareholdings in ports, airports or low performing assets and “recycling” the proceeds to invest in core transport and water.

    “In Auckland, partial or full sale of Watercare would enable the Council to release billions in capital to invest in storm water, floodwater and transport infrastructure and would allow the company to leverage its balance sheet to invest in water infrastructure to support growth.

    “The opportunity cost of having public money tied up in non-essential services is worse congestion and a prolonged housing crisis.

    “If, for some reason, New Zealand is different than Australia and if advice from the OECD, World Economic Forum and others on good capital management is misplaced, the Productivity Commission is best placed to make that call.

    “The same can be said for the rating of Crown and Maori land. It is extraordinary that the Crown considers councils to be core infrastructure providers, but will not pay them to deliver services to Government assets like schools nor even take advice on the issue.

    “It is encouraging that the Government has launched this Inquiry, but given the constrained terms of reference that the Productivity Commission has been given, the potential outcomes of the study have been compromised at the outset,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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

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