Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 10 May 2018 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s announcement that this year’s Budget will allocate $42 billion to capital investment over 5 years will provide a welcome boost for regional and urban development, but speed in establishing a specialised strategic procurement agency is now a priority to ensure projects are sequenced and delivered at best value,” said Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Details of the exact programme will become clear on Budget day, but with major investment needs in health, education, justice, housing and of course transport, the challenge for the Government will be getting best value out of its programme.

    “There is a risk that costs will inflate if project sequencing stretches the market by location, portfolio or skillset.

    “A carefully-conceived project pipeline, developed with the industry and comprising the full spectrum of central and local government major projects, is essential to delivering a programme this large.

    “Just as important will be the way in which projects are procured.

    “Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones’ procurement agency idea now takes on immediate priority, not only to develop the project pipeline but also to ensure that hospitals, schools, roads, railways and other infrastructure are delivered on time, to specification and to budget.

    “Recent reports that the SuperFund has made an unsolicited bid to deliver light rail in Auckland underline how sophisticated major project procurement has become.

    “It’s great news that investors are looking at national infrastructure as an investment opportunity and we need serious expertise across government to ensure this type of approach will be a success.

    “A specialised procurement agency will consolidate public procurement expertise and enable the 5 year $42 billion pipeline to be delivered in a way which benefits all New Zealanders,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 17 Apr 2018 12:16 PM | Anonymous

    The New Zealand Government has restated its committed to resolving congestion and other transport issues in Auckland and across the country. It is widely agreed that conventional funding and financing tools are inadequate to address both the backlog of investment and respond to strong growth. 

    Infrastructure New Zealand welcomes news that the Government is actively investigating alternative procurement options, including Public-Private Partnerships, to enable major projects to proceed. 

    More information can be obtained here.  


  • 19 Mar 2018 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Cancellation of major projects, delays in new projects coming to market and uncertainty about future transport funding are forcing the contracting sector to release skilled staff just at the point at which the Government wants to increase the speed and scale of construction,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “It is natural for infrastructure priorities to change with new leadership, but the scale of change in recent months combined with high uncertainty over future transport funding is having a particularly heavy effect on a sector under pressure from rising input costs.

    “The Government’s desire to utilise private capital to facilitate infrastructure delivery is commendable, as are commitments to increase Crown capital investment from $32b to $42b over the next four years, but it’s the lack of “shovel-ready” projects which is the problem.

    “Near-term cancellation of projects which the sector had anticipated getting underway shortly include the consented East-West Link, the Tauranga Northern Corridor, the Petone to Granada Link road and SH1 Cambridge to Piarere.

    “Delays to the CRL and north-western busway as well as uncertainty for critical growth projects like the Mill Rd corridor in Auckland and safety projects like Otaki to Levin north of Wellington is compounding the issue.  

    “All up, a conservative figure of the total investment pushed out of the next four to five-year period is over $2 billion. That’s in the order of $400 million per annum taken out of the contracting sector.

    “The industry cannot absorb that level of cost without rationalising staff and equipment – the same staff and equipment which we know are urgently needed today to deliver infrastructure for housing.

    “While it is not the Government’s job to keep the construction industry busy, a committed pipeline of work is fundamental to the productivity of the sector, thereby delivering value for tax-payers.

    “It is vital that near-term gaps in the project pipeline are not allowed to undermine the long term health and capacity of the construction sector.

    “Australian investment in transport is set to double in the next couple of years. The big Aussie contractors will absorb all the available skills we have spent a decade building up, risking a repeat of the 2000s from which we’re still recovering.

    “There are projects with consents ready to go, including Mill Rd and Penlink. These projects have very positive economic benefits and unlock land for housing. We know they are going to be delivered, they must be signed off.

    “These are urgent issues and if left unattended will materially impact our ability to deliver infrastructure and home construction programmes,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 21 Dec 2017 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "Waipa District Council’s rejection of a shared water services partnership with neighbouring Hamilton City demonstrates, once again, the need for government intervention in the funding, responsibilities and structure of domestic governance," says Stephen Selwood Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "No fewer than four independent expert analyses of water services in the Waikato have agreed that it is in the best interests of residents of Waipa District to combine their wastewater, water supply and stormwater services with Hamilton.

    "Yet at the political level, these clear, demonstrable and agreed benefits were insufficient to persuade the majority of Waipa councillors to agree to partner with their neighbours in the provision of water services.

    "Despite the example set by Wellington Water, which has demonstrated significant benefits resulting from a jointly owned management company for its five council owners in the Wellington region, this latest Waipa decision puts another nail in the coffin for shared service arrangements between councils.

    "The case for change in water service delivery at a national level was clearly demonstrated in Havelock North when 5000 people got sick from drinking contaminated water. The subsequent inquiry identified “widespread systemic failure among water suppliers to meet the high standards required for the supply of safe drinking water to the public”.

    "Yet, almost all evidence to date, including rejection of Local Government Commission proposals for consolidation in Northland, Wellington, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa, shows that significant change will not come from within the local government sector, no matter how beneficial.

    "Local Government New Zealand's Reputation Index gives local government leadership, performance and communication a score of 28/100.

    "Central government is having to constantly put workarounds in place to fix tourism infrastructure funding or growth investment financing. Auckland and other growth cities are 70,000 homes short of the number required for their populations, but they are not being built because there are not enough pipes and roads in the ground.

    "Major change is needed at a national, local and regional level.

    "Nation-wide functions should not be left to local government, including overall responsibility for environmental management and meeting the basic needs of New Zealanders for food, healthy water and shelter.

    "On the other hand the ability of local communities to build the identity and sense of community in their local areas must be strengthened.

    "And in between, there are decisions which need to be made which affect entire cities and their surrounding areas, including water, transport and economic development. These are regional in nature and require empowered regional decision making.

    "Effective institutions with the resources and mandate to deliver services at the level at which they impact communities are required.

    "If the new government is not prepared to lead fundamental reform itself, then a first principles review by an independent and appropriately resourced commission is the least it could do to identify solutions to longstanding deficiencies in New Zealand’s planning, funding and governance system," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 06 Dec 2017 4:14 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry’s second report out today demonstrates the immediate need to establish a small number of large dedicated water service providers, funded by metered water and overseen by a competent regulator," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The Inquiry found a serious lack of compliance with drinking water standards across New Zealand, resulting in over 700,000 New Zealanders being exposed to unsafe drinking water.

    "Failures at all levels, from the legislation to governance and weak institutional capability, have contributed to a drinking water system which is dangerous, inefficient and unacceptable.

    "Total reform of the water sector is required and the Inquiry’s recommendations should be implemented in full.

    "Water suppliers across New Zealand are too small, under-resourced and conflicted in their provision of water services. Water regulation has been woefully weak, allowing institutional acceptance of service failure.

    "While this inquiry looked specifically at drinking water, the issues are systemic across the sector including waste and stormwater services.

    "A small number of benchmarked water service providers, delivering both water supply, waste and stormwater services should be established.

    "Larger entities will generate the economies of scale needed to achieve drinking water and environmental standards which are currently being ignored, often because of the cost impact to councils.

    "Funding of acceptable water services should be provided by metering and charging for drinking and wastewater use. Metering typically results in a 15 percent water demand reduction over the long term, with lower water consumption reducing the need for expensive new water sources, treatment and distribution networks.

    "The Ministry of Health needs to urgently implement the Inquiry’s short-term recommendations and an independent water regulator must be established as the first step towards major reform of water service governance and delivery in New Zealand.

    "It is encouraging to see the Government is moving quickly in response to the Inquiry’s hard-hitting findings.

    "It is the duty of every Government to protect the health and welfare of its people and the Inquiry’s sobering report demonstrates a severe failure of governance has been allowed to emerge in the provision of one of the most essential public services," Selwood says.


    ENDS

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


  • 24 Nov 2017 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The Labour-led Government's five point programme to address New Zealand's urban growth challenges could establish this Government as a change agent to rival the first and fourth Labour governments, but more aggressive reform of planning, governance and funding of urban growth and infrastructure will be needed," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    Transport and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford confirmed his plans for change last night at the Infrastructure New Zealand Annual General Meeting in Auckland.

    "The purpose of the urban growth agenda is to achieve competitive urban land markets, where supply meets demand and prices cover the cost of growth. Its five components to address New Zealand's chronic tangle of over-regulation, under-funding and fragmented planning are:

    1. Infrastructure funding and financing
    2. A pro-growth planning system
    3. Road pricing
    4. Spatial planning by central and local government
    5. Legislative reform of the Resource Management Act, Local Government Act and Land Transport Management Act.


    "The urban growth agenda signals a shift, not an end, in the way the Government leverages private capital to promote public policy. 

    "New Zealand's established and highly successful PPP model will still be considered for light rail and other transport projects, but the emphasis of this Government will clearly be on attracting private investment to support housing and wider urban development. 

    "The market will need to adjust, but the Government will also need to be aware that a competitive market cannot be sustained without a visible pipeline of potential projects.

    "It is doubtful that the identified transport programme will be sufficient to retain skills and investment in New Zealand without urgent action to fill the void created by cancellation of the planned $1.5 billion East West project in Auckland and various social housing initiatives.

    "The Government's second point in its programme, to create a pro-growth planning system, will be strongly welcomed by businesses frustrated by red-tape and institutionalised complexity built into our current system. 

    "That's going to require reform of the three key planning Acts, the RMA, LGA and LTMA. This is also on the Government's list of priorities, but Minister Twyford confirmed that the Government still has a preference to retaining the RMA.

    “Our very strong view is that combined effect of planning system failure, complex local government structures, tortuous decision making processes and inadequate funding are at the root of New Zealand’s housing and infrastructure crisis.

    "The desire to build off the past, rather than start afresh, is generally preferable. However, the "effects based" approach at the very heart of the RMA is the root cause of urban growth problems. It hands too much influence to objectors and under-represents the benefits of good planning and investment.

    "A more proactive planning regime, with robust national spatial planning and leadership, needs radically different institutions, processes and funding tools.  

    "We look forward to working with the Government to advance these, but are challenged to see how such transformation can take place within the confines of existing statutes and local government structures and funding. 

    "Finally, it is very encouraging to see the Government has recognised road pricing as a key ingredient to managing urban growth and optimising the transport system.  

    "However, if adding capacity to the road and public transport network is not part of every option to address need, we run the risk of establishing a tax on mobility.  

    "Higher and higher prices will be needed to suppress travel, ultimately delivering less public benefit. The purpose of road charges is to balance revenue with incentives to optimise travel, not suppress it. 

    "Viewed as a package, the Government's urban growth agenda is potentially revolutionary. If successfully implemented, Auckland and other growth cities will for the first time in a generation be able to build enough homes and infrastructure to support their population. 

    "All cities and towns in New Zealand will benefit from more flexibility and a reset in our national attitude to growth. This is long overdue," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 30 Oct 2017 2:43 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The new Government should target new housing and employment on unzoned land along the rail line through Paerata to meet Auckland’s growth challenge,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Our latest report released last week examines the cost of growth in different greenfield areas around the city where land is accessible and non-sensitive and finds Paerata to be the best on balance for major new development.

    “It is cheaper to service with water, energy and transport and strategically located near to employment.

    “If the satellite city was supported by a $2 billion upgrade of the rail corridor, we could four-track the southern rail line, allowing non-stop commuter services from the satellite to central Auckland and work places in between.

    “That would put the new city within 30 minutes of the CBD and would allow rail freight to be separated from traditional commuter services. KiwiRail could operate with a much greater degree of freedom, helping to get freight off roads.

    “Being within 30 minutes of the CBD would also allow much greater densities to be achieved at the satellite than would be possible under a traditional expansive urban development approach.

    “Paerata would be a genuine city. It would provide a range of housing choices and with good masterplanning would be much more land efficient and resilient in a changing climate. 

    “The most exciting aspect is that the city could be designed to deliver all of our aspirations for the future enabling sustainable living and leveraging technology to the fullest extent.

    “We can build better, stronger communities, free from the constraints of previous decisions.

    “Developing at scale, we can facilitate the shift to more advanced home construction techniques, common throughout the rest of the world. These are critical to lifting productivity and enabling supply to increase.

    “Scale will also be attractive to domestic and international developers and investors.

    “If the new Government was to prioritise growth in a satellite city near the rail line in the south and tie new zoning to reprioritised transport investment, we could deliver homes at around half the current cost.

    “We estimate that an average new home would cost $430,000 to build. That’s including land, development, infrastructure, GST – everything except a return for risk. How the satellite was delivered, including what risks were accepted by the Government, would determine what price homes could be sold for.

    “This is the full cost – not a subsidy. It’s what houses should cost if we plan well and break through some of the barriers created by our current planning-funding-governance system.

    “Growth can pay for itself if it is well planned.

    “The growth model we have in place at the moment not only allows development in areas which cannot affordably be serviced, it is preventing the delivery of housing at its actual, affordable cost. It is enabling sprawl on productive soil and poor quality infill in established suburbs.

    "Intensification of extremely expensive brownfield land is not delivering housing at the price or speed which is required.

    “Proactively targeting growth around rail is cheaper, consumes less land and will deliver faster housing.

    “The satellite city model can be scaled up to take advantage of new investment and provide for Auckland growth over the long term. It can be aligned with much needed investments in education and health to deliver an exemplar city of the future, providing a better urban lifestyle than can be achieved under existing practice.  

    “The current incremental approach to growth management in Auckland must change. It is too slow, too expensive and is adding to congestion. Integrating urban development and infrastructure “at scale” is the solution,” Selwood says.


    A copy of the Innovation City discussion document can be found here.

    The Innovation City video can be found here.


    ENDS

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

  • 18 Sep 2017 12:48 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The rupturing of the Marsden to Wiri oil pipeline has identified issues in resilience planning which should be resolvable without building another pipeline,” says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Increasing fuel storage so that the country has some redundancy in the event of pipeline damage is one option. For this to occur, asset owners need to be able to consent storage and protect assets from reverse sensitivity objections.

    “Resilience investment needs to be more strongly recognised in our planning and consenting frameworks so that regulatory barriers do not discourage industry from providing the backup New Zealand needs.

    “In addition, we need to ensure fuels can be transported around the country in the event of an emergency. In particular, the corridor linking Whangarei to Auckland needs to be robust and we need to have enough vehicles and drivers to respond to urgent need.

    “There may also be opportunities to strengthen existing assets to make them less vulnerable to disruption. Recent reporting suggests signage may have been poor near where the damage to the pipeline occurred. Keeping infrastructure corridors well-maintained is a priority and should be monitored.

    “Technology is a vital part of the solution. 3D mapping tools and Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be used to maintain a detailed understanding of where assets are located. Better systems for obtaining, holding and accessing this information are required.

    “Major supply problems suggest contingency planning has been inadequate. This is a significant rupture, but not one which should sit outside the bounds of good resilience planning.

    “It is unclear exactly who is or should be accountable for ensuring the security of supply in the event of a disruption.

    “Major parties have voiced support for the creation of an Infrastructure Commission. Taking a strategic leadership position on activities like resilience monitoring, preparation and reporting would be a core activity of such an entity,” Selwood says.


    ENDS

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

  • 08 Sep 2017 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The release today of the National Party’s transport policy provides the opportunity to compare its priorities with those of the Labour Party, announced last month.

    The majority of investment from the National Party has been dedicated to state highway and regional road improvements across the country, along with continued investment in growing public transport. 

    National has today confirmed its previous announcement that will deliver a $10.5 billion addition to the state highway network through a revamped Roads of National Significance programme.

    An additional $600 million will be spent on road safety improvements and earthquake-affected Kaikoura roads will be rebuilt. Penlink and the billion dollar Mill Rd project in Auckland will be delivered as state highways. National has not specified a figure, but has indicated it will accelerate regional road projects, and points to its previous record of investing $200 million to do so.

    In contrast, Labour is placing most of its investment on inter-regional rail services and investment in light rail in Auckland.

    It has committed to kicking-off a rapid regional passenger service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, completing a third rail line in Auckland and retaining electrification between Hamilton and Palmerston North. Should evidence support it, Labour will look to electrify other key parts of the rail network and reopen mothballed lines.

    Labour will invest an extra $3.3 billion in light rail and busways in Auckland over the next 20 years, but will dial back the East West Link connecting Auckland’s motorways. It will commit $100 million to Christchurch public transport and consider light rail for Wellington.

    Labour has not announced any further capacity or safety improvements for the state highway network, but has committed to quickly rebuilding the Manawatu Gorge Rd. It is not clear whether planned projects state highway improvements, including the Warkworth to Wellsford Road of National Significance, will be delivered.

    However, Labour has made more funding available for transport projects of regional importance by doubling the funding range of $70-$140m to $140-$280m.

    National has committed to the delivery of the third main trunk line in Auckland, as well as to rebuild rail infrastructure affected by the Kaikoura earthquake. It is also investing $267 million over three years in Auckland and Wellington commuter rail and will work with Auckland Council on a mass transit solution between the CBD and Auckland Airport and complete route protection.

    Labour has not specified funding for cycling and walking, but has indicated that both, along with rail, will be eligible to apply to the NLTF for national funding.

    National will continue to implement its $333 million cycling programme.

    National has also indicated that it will support coastal shipping, increase electric vehicle uptake and strengthen airport links.

    Labour has not announced policies on electric vehicles or airport links, but has committed to developing a national freight and national ports strategy and will move to implement the ‘Sea Change’ strategy to revitalise coastal shipping.

    Funding these improvements looks set to exhaust the National Land Transport Fund. Labour has indicated that it will levy a 10 cents per litre fuel tax in Auckland to fund its programme. National will fund its investment from existing sources and continue investigating road pricing.

    Labour has highlighted increasing congestion, liveability and economic development as the key drivers for its transport policy.

    National emphasises productivity and growth, safety and congestion relief as the predominant benefits of its programme.

    “Neither party has identified longer term operational costs from their policies, nor provided evidence that their policies will actually deliver on promises to reduce congestion and support economic development.

    “The fact that we have such contrasting national investment priorities across our major parties is an indictment on our evaluation and prioritisation processes, which should be objective.

    “We spend tens of millions of dollars every year on complex modelling and evaluation of projects and their benefits which should, in theory, depoliticise transport priorities and deliver the right projects for the job.

    “That two such different approaches can be promoted indicates a lack of evidence is present in our decision making.

    “An objective and independent body such as a New Zealand Infrastructure Commission is urgently required to investigate and analyse transport and other infrastructure priorities for New Zealand,” Selwood says.


    ENDS

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

  • 05 Sep 2017 2:12 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) to allow it to fund water storage projects that directly lead to environmental benefits is a very positive step and should be extended to recognise resilience and social benefits as well," says Infrastructure New Zealand, Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

    "To date, existing rules guiding the government's irrigation investment arm have placed a too narrow focus on direct economic benefits.

    "This has resulted in disproportionate emphasis on maximising land use productivity and insufficient recognition of wider economic, social and environmental benefits.

    "Widening the criteria to include the full scope of costs and benefits from irrigation is critical.

    "Other benefits not currently adequately recognised include enhancing the resilience of rural areas in the face of climate change, supporting employment and improving the quality and amenity of freshwater resources.

    "In the immediate term, this means wider economic and social benefits, including increased regional employment and improved freshwater swimming quality, will be better reflected in the reasons the public invests in irrigation infrastructure. 

    "We also know that irrigation is increasingly being used to improve environmental performance by recharging aquifers, guaranteeing minimum river flows and flushing systems. 

    "These benefits are of the utmost importance over the long term as rainfall patterns shift in response to climate change.

    "Yet resilience is not currently a significant driver for irrigation investment, and even environmental factors are approached from the perspective of mitigating effects rather than improving environmental performance.

    "Assessing the full spectrum of costs and benefits over the long term is a core infrastructure activity and needs to be included in CIIL’s brief," Selwood says.

     

    ENDS

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


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