Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 24 Jul 2017 9:49 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The Government's announcement today that it will set up Crown Infrastructure Partnerships to seed fund private investment in road and water infrastructure provides a means to dramatically increase housing supply," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    "Timely delivery of trunk infrastructure is a major constraint on developers' ability to deliver housing across New Zealand," Selwood says.

    "Under this model, Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) will facilitate partnerships between the Government and local councils to enable private investment in roads and water treatment plants to unlock land for development.

    "Traditionally councils have been unable to deliver infrastructure soon enough because of other demands on funding and political constraints on their ability to increase property rates and fund debt. 

    "Under this model, the debt will be covered by private investors. 

    "The $600 million seed fund announced today will enable CIP to cover initial demand risk until the developments are in place and new ratepayers are able to pay for the infrastructure. As the Crown is repaid, it will then be able to recycle that capital into new developments.

    "A key advantage of this approach is that the cost of the infrastructure is not included in the up front cost of a home. This will reduce house prices, meaning smaller mortgages. 

    "Instead, home owners will pay for the infrastructure services over time through targeted rates on their properties.

    "The Crown partnership agency is similar to the successful Scottish Futures Trust model in Scotland and the Municipal Utility District approach in the United States. Both countries use these models to deliver better outcomes sooner by leveraging private capital and expertise.

    "Re-purposing Crown Fibre Holdings into Crown Infrastructure Partnerships in New Zealand is a very smart move.

    "Crown Fibre Holdings has a track record of successful partnerships with the private sector and this approach has enabled a step change in the roll out of high speed broadband.

    "Successful evolution of that model into integrated development of infrastructure and housing at scale could transform housing supply and make a significant contribution to delivering affordable homes sooner rather than later." Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 19 Jul 2017 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "It is positive to see the Local Government Commission has put forward a sound proposal for the Wairarapa, but the ongoing piecemeal approach to reform is not tackling the wider national issue of whether councils can plan, fund and meet long-term local needs," says Stephen Selwood Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    The Commission has proposed that the existing Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils be brought together into a single Wairarapa District Council. The new entity will have a single mayor, elected at large, and 12 councillors elected across seven wards.

    Wairarapa will have the choice of either accepting or rejecting the Commission’s proposal, likely in a poll next year.

    "The Commission’s proposal will deliver a more capable and better resourced council for the area. The larger entity will have improved capacity for strategic planning, a bigger balance sheet to support investment prioritisation and will be able to speak with a louder, united voice on behalf of all of Wairarapa.

    "We agree with the Commission that these benefits can be realised whilst maintaining local representation and identity through community boards.

    "In our view, community boards should be delegated with appropriate powers and funding at the local level to support community needs.

    "This proposal is definitely a step forward for Wairarapa.

    "But it is still not clear whether the new 40,000 resident entity will be sufficient to meet long term challenges. Nor is it clear what the solution is for New Zealand’s 64 other territorial authorities, most of whom find themselves facing exactly the same issues as the Wairarapa.

    "Population aging across virtually all of New Zealand is constraining the ability of councils to increase rates at the same time as billions of dollars of infrastructure comes up for renewal. Together with increased expectations for environmental performance, greater health and safety requirements, stronger heritage protections and other directives from central government, growth councils are responding by underfunding new development and impeding housing supply.

    "The whole system by which councils are funded, the responsibilities they have and the decisions they are required to make is unsustainable and needs to be revised.

    "Meeting long term challenges requires governance structures which allow effective planning supported by resources and delivery capability. This is as true for councils in the South Island as it is in the Wairarapa and rest of the North Island.

    "What is required is a first principles review of local government’s role in New Zealand, how councils are resourced and what the optimum structures are for meeting 21st century needs," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 11 Jul 2017 2:40 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The Government’s $1 billion financing of much needed growth infrastructure is very welcome, but infrastructure requirements nationwide are now in the tens of billions and better planning, funding and delivery systems are required to meet the challenge," says Infrastructure New Zealand's Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    "The Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) is a helpful component of the Government’s housing response. The allocation of government debt to New Zealand’s fastest growing regions will improve the supply of serviced land where it is most needed.

    "Today's announcement combined with recent budget commitments to infrastructure investment is positive but a lot more is required.

    "Analysis by the Office of the Auditor General consistently shows that councils across New Zealand are struggling to maintain and renew existing assets, let alone provide for growth.

    "In Auckland there is a $400 to $700 million transport funding gap that must be bridged, and a 7000 home construction deficit accumulating every year. Against that, the 10,500 homes announced this morning will add just 1000 homes a year.

    "Addressing infrastructure challenges which sit at the heart of New Zealand’s housing supply issues demands more than one-off loans.

    "The private sector is going to need to step up and for this to happen there needs to be certainty that public infrastructure will be funded and delivered in a timely way.

    "A clear and committed pipeline of projects will give infrastructure and home construction companies the confidence to invest in resources needed.

    "Government plans for Urban Development Agencies must also be accelerated. This could unlock opportunities for urban development at scale where development is master planned to integrate fully with transport and infrastructure services.

    "New transport funding tools like road tolls are needed sooner rather than later. 

    "We desperately need to improve governance and streamline our planning and decision-making processes. The current approach to planning, funding and delivery of housing and infrastructure is not working.

    "While the HIF and budget allocations help in the short term, a longer term response which addresses the failed planning, governance and funding system in New Zealand is urgently needed," Selwood says.


    ENDS

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

  • 08 Jun 2017 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "New Zealand can make best use of the Government's $32 billion infrastructure commitment over the next four years by streamlining plans and institutions, including specialist procurement, environment and water regulation agencies and a top down national spatial planning framework," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.   

    The findings are set out in an Infrastructure NZ report released today which follows a delegation to Scotland in March this year.

    "Over the last two decades, the Scottish have completely transformed infrastructure planning, funding and delivery. 

    "They've established innovative and effective institutions at the national level which support and guide central and local government infrastructure delivery. 

    "The UK National Infrastructure Commission, Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Scottish Water are all bodies which could be employed here to rationalise and improve infrastructure planning, funding and delivery.

    "Initiatives based on Scotland’s National Planning Framework and hub, City Deal, tax increment financing and Growth Accelerator programmes would each help align central and local decision making and enhance collaboration with the private sector.

    "The Scottish system is simpler, more transparent and reduces conflicts of interest across the public sector. 

    "The extensive infrastructure investment that New Zealand is planning over the coming years will need to be well-managed if we are to tackle the growth challenge. The best elements of Scotland's decision making system are worth replicating," Selwood says.  

     The key findings for New Zealand set out in the report are:

    • We could improve public understanding of infrastructure challenges and better support national investment by establishing an empowered national body charged with identifying infrastructure needs.
    • Scotland's plan-led approach gives greater certainty and better balances strategic priorities with local interests than New Zealand's effects-based RMA system.
    • We could save money and improve infrastructure performance by establishing an independent centre of expertise for project procurement, integration and public private partnerships.
    • A specialist central agency could work in partnership with local government to consolidate procurement and provide immediate and substantial benefits for water and tourism infrastructure.
    • Public and environmental health could both be improved across New Zealand by consolidating wastewater and water supply delivery at a regional level.
    • Auckland’s Watercare could be sold to fund Auckland growth with minimal impact on the cost of services and improved strategic capability.
    • Dedicated independent regulators are more informed and take an outcomes-focused strategic view of the sector which results in better services.
    • Local government can be incentivised to align investment priorities with national outcomes by using the UK City Deal approach.

     A full copy of the report can be accessed here.

    ENDS

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


  • 07 Jun 2017 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "Infrastructure New Zealand welcomes today’s announcement that the Government and Auckland Council will investigate road pricing, but is concerned that the Terms of Reference over-emphasise demand management and do not recognise the constraints current funding is placing on both near and longer term investment," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure NZ.

    "Mobility is central to social and economic well-being. Imposing prices at a level which makes travel prohibitive should not be the goal.

    "We need to find an appropriate balance between raising the revenue necessary for investment whilst also managing demand more effectively across the transport system.

    "Prices should be set at a level that encourages people to think about travelling at a different time, in a different way or in another mode rather than at a level which is not affordable and where mobility is suppressed.

    "Organisations including business and community groups, the AA and public transport associations are all integral to winning support for change.

    "We strongly recommend that the governing parties undertake a very proactive engagement process to ensure support.

    "While a fair and robust pricing system is developed for New Zealand over the medium term, a near-term solution to Auckland’s funding challenge must be identified.

    "The easiest way to implement pricing in the short term would be tolls on the motorway. Using existing technology and priced dynamically, motorway tolls would balance demand and provide a stepping stone to full road pricing," Selwood says.


  • 18 May 2017 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    "Infrastructure New Zealand welcomes new Government support for economically and environmentally sound irrigation proposals, but equity investment is preferable over debt funding to maximise public benefit," says chief executive of Infrastructure New Zealand Stephen Selwood.

    The Government today announced $90 million of new funding for irrigation would be included in Budget 2017, including additional grant funding of $27 million and a capital boost of $63 million.

    "Dependable water supply has a major impact on agricultural productivity, incomes and, in turn, the sustainability of New Zealand’s rural sector. Communities with poor access to employment, declining school rolls and population decline can be reinvigorated and all of New Zealand shares in the benefit of new investment and stronger exports.

    "The obvious limitation is assurance that additional water supply and related land use change does not lead to net environmental degradation.

    "Where robust environmental analysis demonstrates irrigation can be provided within the limits of the receiving area, it is critical that other hurdles are reduced.

    "Uncertainty about when and to what degree farmers will take up water contracts increases investor risk, raising the cost of irrigation schemes and making water more expensive. This has the reinforcing effect of disincentivising farmer uptake and delaying further investment which otherwise will deliver a sustained economic and social benefit to New Zealand.

    "It is in such instances that Government intervention is essential.

    "Where the Government acts solely as a lender of last resort, it does not solve the problem at the heart of irrigation. Loaned money must be paid back at an agreed rate on agreed terms, meaning the risk of water uptake remains with investors and projects struggle to move forward.

    "Where the Government acts as a co-investor to get projects over the line and realise public benefits, as it has done with the immensely successful Ultra-fast Broadband initiative, very positive outcomes can been achieved.

    "In irrigation, the Government has an opportunity to invest capital in proportion both to its commercial risk exposure and the wider social and economic benefit to communities.

    "If today’s announcement signals that the Government is ready not only to lend but to invest in a stronger rural economy, then it is very welcome," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 16 May 2017 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    Step change in infrastructure needed to support new housing

    "News that the Government will build 34,500 new homes in Auckland over the next decade is to be applauded, but a step change in infrastructure funding and investment will be required to ensure Auckland networks can accommodate this growth," says Stephen Selwood chief executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "Auckland is in immediate need of housing and today’s announcement is a serious commitment to addressing prolonged under supply. Last year only around 7,000 homes were built in the region, so an extra 3,500 per annum over the next decade is substantial.

    "The construction of 13,500 social housing units where 8,300 currently stand represents a major increase in housing for those in chronic need. The other 20,000 the Government intends to build will be targeted at the more affordable end of the spectrum, which has for many years been under-supplied.

    "This is very good news, but Auckland’s infrastructure networks cannot accommodate this development by continuing business as usual.

    "A 34,500 home development is a city of 100,000 people – that’s somewhere between a Palmerston North and a Dunedin. A vast service network underpins this much housing; Palmerston North City alone has over 550km of roads, 1,000km of water pipes and 30 schools.

    "The Government estimates that 34,500 homes is equivalent to three and a half houses on every street in Auckland. Typically, that means an additional seven cars in every street. Already Auckland’s transport networks are bursting at the seams and all projections are that congestion will get much worse.

    "The Government earlier this month signalled it was going to come to the party with an $11 billion commitment to infrastructure through Budget 2017, but it is still not clear how the Auckland Council will meet its growth obligations.

    "A 2015 study by the Centre for International Economics on the cost of residential infrastructure estimated that a new home built on redeveloped land costs the Auckland Council on average $30,000. This figure excludes big city-shaping investments like the City Rail Link.

    "The Government’s announcement today adds a $1 billion bill to a council which is already at the limit of what it can borrow. If new development triggers the need for regional scale infrastructure like light rail or a new busway, the cost to the Auckland Council will easily be two, three or four times this figure.

    "The city really is at a critical juncture. Infrastructure is urgently needed to address the backlog and accommodate new growth.

    "Obvious steps to addressing this challenge are:

    • Prioritise housing development next to train and busway stations
    • Invest in traffic light optimisation and intelligent traffic management systems
    • Rapidly develop park and ride facilities
    • Streamline planning consents for power, water, telecommunications and social infrastructure that support the developments
    • Recycle capital tied up in existing assets into new infrastructure
    • Enable urban development agencies to rezone, acquire and aggregate land and use the increased value to fund infrastructure
    • Expand private investment in infrastructure through PPPs and large scale development opportunities
    • Introduce road pricing sooner rather than later to both manage demand and generate revenue to pay for transport infrastructure

    "It’s great to see the Government enabling housing development at scale but parallel development of infrastructure to support all of the new houses will be key to success," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 27 Apr 2017 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    Government's $11 billion infrastructure commitment a big step forward

    "The announcement that Budget 2017 will allocate a further $11 billion in new capital infrastructure is very welcome. It will be essential that this new funding unlocks local and private capital to accelerate much needed infrastructure investment," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The Government’s announcement today increases planned new capital investment to 2020 from $3.6 billion to $11 billion, but leaves details of project priorities till the May Budget.

    "This is a massive increase and the largest capital investment commitment by any Government since the 1970s.

    "But it must be said that New Zealand’s growth challenge is the highest it has ever been and meeting population demands requires the services for a city larger than Nelson to be added every year.

    "Added to the growth challenge is New Zealand’s historic under-investment in infrastructure. The reality is that it would not be difficult to spend $11 billion in 2017 alone.

    "The Government’s commitment to the Kaikoura rebuild, along with its $1.5 billion contribution to the CRL, a further $1.5 billion in the East-West link, a billion more on each of Mill Rd, the northern busway extension and the northwestern busway, $400 million on Penlink, plus state highway improvements in the regions is enough to consume all $11 billion, let alone much needed investment in health, education and housing nationwide.

    "To get full value out of national resources, the Government is going to need to use its funding to unlock private investment.

    "A shift to debt funding strategic projects represents good fiscal management and in this regard it is pleasing to see the Government looking further at public-private partnerships.

    "ACC, NZ Super, iwi and domestic and international institutions are looking to invest in New Zealand’s infrastructure and it makes sense to accelerate projects which meet demand for housing and services.

    "In addition, the Government has already demonstrated the value of capital recycling, via the partial sale of the energy generation companies in particular, and a similar strategy could be adopted by Auckland, Christchurch and other councils to bridge the infrastructure funding backlog.

    "Priority should also be given to projects where developers and land owners who benefit from land value increases contribute to infrastructure investments. 

    "The combination of public and private capital is central to delivering the infrastructure needed to support New Zealand's growth," Selwood says. 


    ENDS

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


  • 05 Apr 2017 1:08 PM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    Case for change to build New Zealand’s prosperity

    The need for a cohesive strategy to drive reform of the country’s resource management and planning systems is now vital for New Zealand’s prosperity, says a coalition of like-minded organisations.

    For some time the EMA, Property Council New Zealand, Infrastructure New Zealand and the Environmental Defence Society have been working together to build a case for change on how to provide for the nation’s growth and development within acceptable environmental limits.

    The Productivity Commission’s report on urban planning has made a very useful contribution to the developing debate on these issues. While it addressed concerns around the Resource Management Act, and the challenges faced by towns and cities, its terms of reference were narrow.

    The coalition of these organisations say a sound basis for reform has now been established and there is emerging interest amongst politicians for a long-term examination of the way we should manage the environment and development.

    Now it is time for national leadership on this issue. The coalition recognises there is no quick fix as the problem is complex, system wide and embraces many interests.

    As well as improving the core law, the coalition is looking for an improved framework to address the related components of planning, funding, governance, monitoring and enforcement.

    The way forward needs to have cross-party support, be independent, have integrity and deliver a result which can meet the needs of New Zealand now and in the future. The process to deliver this could be something along the lines of a Royal Commission, or an inquiry of a similar nature.

    “The frustrations of the business community with the current system are well documented. Which is why over the past year or so, we have diligently worked to broaden the debate. I think as a nation, we are ready to have this debate, and work towards an evidence-based solution that will address these concerns,” says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.

    “We have clearly identified the issue, and laid the groundwork for change. The next step is have a process which will enable the design of a fully integrated planning, funding and delivery system,” says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “There is clear evidence that the current system is not producing good environmental outcomes. By working together as a group, we can ensure that before rushing to our favourite solutions we focus instead on creating an inclusive framework within which to develop the new way forward for our country,” says Gary Taylor, CEO, Environmental Defence Society.

    “We need to stop tinkering with the RMA and undertake bold forward thinking changes to the whole planning system. We cannot let our 21st century cities be held back by outdated 20th century thinking,” says Connal Townsend, Chief Executive, Property Council New Zealand.

    ENDS

    Media inquiries to:
    Val Hayes, External Relations Manager, EMA 021 615 549


  • 29 Mar 2017 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    Productivity Commission report demonstrates need for a Royal Commission

    "The Productivity Commission report released today identifies many of the key issues confronting urban development in New Zealand, but its recommendations fail to align planning, local government decision making powers and funding", says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The Commission recommends regions develop spatial strategies while districts make funding and investment decisions. This is little changed from the current process where regions develop policy statements and districts fund growth. It also replicates failed planning practices under the old Auckland governance regime.

    "As long as the responsibilities for planning are separated from responsibilities to fund and deliver plans, implementation will be subject to the vagaries of local, fragmented politics, not the needs of the region.

    "Much more fundamental change is required to enable effective urban development and regional growth. We need a system where national, regional and local plans are aligned. Regions must be able to plan for growth, have the necessary funding to enable timely investments and be able to work effectively with central government, business, iwi and local communities.

    "A key part of the problem today is that districts are under resourced and don’t have the funding, capacity or incentives to go for growth. Fragmented decision making, and the sheer number of councils involved makes it even more difficult.

    "Although the Commission identifies these as issues, it does not propose a fully developed set of recommendations to address them. Councils, for example, already have the ability to use different rating systems to better capture value improvement. The fact that they by and large do not suggests other factors are at play. Little in the report gives confidence that these factors will be addressed. 

    "Traditionally, discussions of local government structure and funding have failed, which may explain why the Commission has not addressed these controversial issues.

    "Fundamental reforms of this significance require a national discourse along with community and organisational input, in depth evidential-based research and objective evaluation.

    "While the Commission has made a useful contribution, a Royal Commission into planning laws, local government structure and funding would be an appropriate next step to designing a fully integrated planning, funding and delivery system", says Selwood.

    ENDS

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


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