Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA & RELEASES

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

  • 24 Nov 2017 2:52 PM | Anonymous


    "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.


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

  • 30 Oct 2017 2:43 PM | Anonymous


    “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.


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

  • 18 Sep 2017 12:48 PM | Anonymous


    “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.


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

  • 08 Sep 2017 3:18 PM | Anonymous


    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.


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

  • 05 Sep 2017 2:12 PM | Anonymous


    "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.



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

  • 04 Sep 2017 2:54 PM | Anonymous


    A group of like-minded organisations, called Resource Reform NZ, is calling for a far-reaching review of the current resource management system.

    The announcement made today by The National Party, to establish a review of the current urban planning system, recognises the current problem but does not go far enough.

    The group is adamant that reform of the resource management system needs to go much further. It recommends this is best addressed through cross-party consensus on the issue by a politically independent process, such as a Commission or similar.

    Resource Reform NZ, is an alliance of EMA, Environmental Defence Society, Infrastructure New Zealand and Property Council New Zealand. The group is seeking prosperity for all New Zealanders through the development of an integrated governance, planning, funding and delivery system to guide resource management and national economic development.

    "We know New Zealand’s prosperity is being held back by the current framework the wider planning system operates within. It is no longer fit for purpose, and is why we find ways to work around the current system when we want to deliver the infrastructure that the country so desperately needs," says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive, Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The current uncoordinated planning system is driving increasing housing unaffordability, the high cost of commercial development and reliance on outdated funding mechanisms such as rates and council debt. That means we’re simply not building enough, quickly enough with the quality and innovation needed to develop the cities and standard of living we all expect in the future," says Connal Townsend, Chief Executive, Property Council New Zealand.

    "The environment is suffering too. The Resource Management Act is our pre-eminent environmental law. Yet the cumulative effects of permitted land use activities over the lifetime of the Act have led to a slow but significant deterioration of the quality of our streams, rivers and lakes," says Gary Taylor, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Society

    "For business these issues are also stifling the ability to grow and expand. Which in turn, also impacts employees and the families. Looking into the future, we face even bigger challenges in how we manage and respond to demographic changes, advances in technology, rising consumer expectations and climate change," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.


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

  • 01 Sep 2017 1:31 PM | Anonymous


    "The National Party’s announcement today that, if elected, it will set up an independent National Infrastructure Commission should have cross party support," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    "Establishment of such a body will bring New Zealand’s infrastructure practices up to speed with Australia, the UK, Canada and other leading countries.

    "The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to provide independent, strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.

    "A New Zealand infrastructure commission needs to be charged with equivalent responsibility. This would include investigating and recommending responses to our most pressing issues in housing, freshwater quality and congestion, in addition to oversight of project delivery, procurement, and the national infrastructure pipeline.

    "The size of the infrastructure workload ahead means we have to make the most of every dollar spent. Having a public entity working in New Zealand's best interests and with expertise in project delivery is critical.

    "National’s announcement today is focussed on leveraging private sector capital and expertise through Public Private Partnerships.

    "PPPs are an important component of any rational infrastructure delivery programme, but the Commission needs to encompass all forms of project delivery, regardless of whether or not private capital is involved.

    "Successive surveys by Infrastructure NZ and other evidence shows that New Zealand’s infrastructure procurement can significantly be improved and international experience shows there are billions of dollars of benefit from doing so.

    "Having our best and most experienced people involved when the Government buys large and complex assets like motorways, railways, schools, and hospitals minimises the risk of mistakes and capitalises on the investment opportunity.

    "It’s not only individual projects which will benefit from a new body. A clear and committed national infrastructure pipeline has for many years been an industry priority. Businesses who deliver assets on behalf of governments need to know what’s ahead and if the Commission can provide greater certainty around this it will make a big difference to investment and productivity in the sector.

    "These are the reasons why Canada, through Partnerships BC and Infrastructure Ontario, the UK, through the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Scottish Futures Trust, and Australia through Infrastructure NSW and Major Projects Victoria have all picked up the model.

    "Some of the greatest benefits could be realised from using the Commission to assist local government with its $50 billion infrastructure programme. Bundling council projects and supporting our smallest infrastructure providers with specialist knowledge will reduce project overruns and help provide better services at lower cost to ratepayers.

    "For the Commission to be successful, it will need arm’s length independence from the Government, like the Commerce Commission or Reserve Bank, to ensure that it acts apolitically in New Zealand’s long term interests.

    "A specialist infrastructure body is a really positive step forward for New Zealand. It is a bi-partisan response to New Zealand’s infrastructure needs and should receive cross-party support," Selwood says.


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

  • 17 Aug 2017 9:36 AM | Anonymous


    "There is now broad agreement across the infrastructure industry that consolidating public procurement expertise in an arm’s-length specialist agency is critical to meeting New Zealand’s investment programme," says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure NZ.   

    "We’ve seen a definite shift across industry over the past 12 months. Now, four out of five of the people most heavily involved in designing, building and providing infrastructure services to government and councils believe a specialist procurement agency would be “effective” or “highly effective” in lifting performance.

    "A separate poll conducted at the release of the survey findings found a staggering 96 per cent believed we cannot continue to procure infrastructure the way we are.

    "We have enormous resource challenges in front of us. If we are to successfully deliver the $125 billion infrastructure programme over the next 10 years and make the most of new services, the way we plan, fund, procure, deliver and operate these services must be as good as it can be.

    "The industry survey identifies major opportunities for improvement across the sector. Many agencies are excessively focused on price over long term value. Projects are poorly phased to the market in boom bust cycles. A limited range of procurement options are being used that fail to draw on the experience and capability of the industry. Contract law is being rewritten on almost every project and risk is being unfairly transferred to contractors resulting in poor outcomes and unnecessarily high costs to the client.

    "There are examples of good practice across the country.

    "NZTA came out on top as the country’s top procurer of infrastructure services for the third year in succession. Its work on bodies like the Road Efficiency Group and SCIRT has delivered efficiencies through scale, partnership, new delivery models and an advanced understanding of risk.

    "NZTA is held in high regard by the industry because its staff are experts at what they do. They understand how best to allocate risk. They focus on value rather than cost and match the procurement method with the job to be done. They also proactively engage suppliers to ensure the forward work programme is clearly signalled in advance to maintain a healthy, competitive market that has capacity to deliver.

    "But with 20 District Health Boards, 78 councils, transport, education, housing and other public institutions all procuring major capital assets independently, skills are too widely distributed and processes too fragmented.

    "New Zealand does not have the capacity to harness best practice and transfer it efficiently from one project to the next.

    "Every country we compare ourselves to has responded to this challenge with a specialised collaborative procurement body.

    "Whether it’s Partnerships BC in Canada, Infrastructure NSW in Australia or the Scottish Futures Trust, other jurisdictions have realised huge benefits by consolidating expertise in a fit-for-purpose entity which assists public bodies with project procurement.

    "Public bodies responsible for delivering services remain in charge. The difference is that they have experts in project procurement helping them along the way.

    "In its first year of operation the Scottish Futures Trust delivered £111 million of added value from just a £4.3 million budget. The UK has recently achieved a 15 per cent saving on infrastructure spending by focusing on best practice procurement and collaborative working.

    "If we could achieve a much more modest 5-10 per cent improvement in delivering New Zealand’s $125 billion capital intentions plan, we could secure $6-12 billion of infrastructure value above and beyond what we’re planning.

    "That’s five or six Waterview Connections or enough to address the entire backlog of water supply and wastewater investment nationwide.

    "Benefits come from standardising contracts and processes, picking the right model for the job, allocating risk effectively between client and suppliers, sequencing projects to align initiatives and optimise capacity, packaging projects to achieve economies of scale, and ensuring the whole asset process from planning to delivery and operation is performed efficiently.

    "Between the public and private sectors we have the skills and the capability. Experts in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Treasury, NZTA and other agencies are funded already. Bringing these experts together with procurement and delivery specialists from the private sector into a dedicated and highly focused centre of expertise would enable New Zealand to emulate the results we see in other countries.

    "It’s a huge opportunity and one which the incoming government should embrace immediately," Selwood says.


    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 10 Aug 2017 4:46 PM | Anonymous


    EMA, Infrastructure New Zealand, Property Council New Zealand and the Environmental Defence Society’s call for a cohesive strategy to drive reform of the country’s resource management and planning systems seems to have gained momentum.

    The coalition of these organisations says their jointly funded research and first-hand experience of the current system clearly demonstrates it is failing its environmental goals and New Zealand’s prosperity is being held back. Change is now urgent.

    Views expressed at EDS’s Tipping Points conference reflects this. Today, the Green Party called for a formal review of New Zealand’s environmental management and planning laws, if it was in Government.

    "The evidence of our failure is clear. Escalating housing unaffordability, groaning infrastructure and a slow but significant deterioration in the quality of monitored streams, rivers and lakes are just some examples," says Gary Taylor, CEO, Environmental Defence Society.

    Collectively the coalition is calling on the Government, whatever its make-up post-23 September, to be bold, visionary and initiate a broad review covering of the system as a whole.

    "A Royal Commission is one way to do that. As a coalition, we are open to other ways to provide a broad and independent review that can cut through political sensitivities, accommodate the diverse perspectives of multiple stakeholders and provide binding outcomes," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA

    ""The problems are wider than the RMA, reaching into New Zealand’s system of local government, the role, form and resourcing of councils and how infrastructure is planned and funded," says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand

    Having consulted extensively, the coalition recognises that whilst many New Zealanders agree there is a need for change, they differ on how to achieve it.

    "What is needed, in our view, is a first principles review of our central and local government planning, funding and environmental resource management system. This review must also bring together and draw upon the experience and insight of business, environmental, community and political voices," says Connal Townsend, Chief Executive Property Council New Zealand.


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

  • 06 Aug 2017 3:45 PM | Anonymous


    "Labour's commitment to solving Auckland's long term transport funding challenge is a big step forward," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The region is facing an annual deficit of around half a billion dollars to fund the agreed programme. Labour will introduce a 10 cents per litre regional fuel tax, which will levy around $160 million per annum, and deploy targeted rates to fund the remainder. 

    "Carefully applied targeted rates in particular could be transformational in Auckland. Over the past few years we've seen major public transport investments materialise as property value increases, but had limited scope to capture that value and use it to fund the programme.

    "A key concern for business has for many years been the lack of certainty for transport investment in Auckland. The projects are there on paper, but without funding certainty it is difficult for everyone from property investors to transport suppliers to gear up for opportunities ahead.

    "As long as funding is provided on a case by case basis, the investment programme is less a forward work plan for industry than a political football which increases investment risk. 

    "Risks are priced into projects and we all pay more for roads, rail, homes and buildings. 

    "We hope that the vital East-West Link does not become a case study on this issue. 

    "The project has a very strong business case, including a benefit cost ratio approaching 2.0, but with its benefits accruing to freight and industry it has struggled to receive popular support. 

    "Agreeing a forward work plan and providing a stable funding regime to deliver that programme when required is critical to meeting Auckland's growth needs. 

    "If Labour's approach provides this certainty, it will be warmly received by everyone," Selwood says.


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

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