Building Nations 2018 – Lifting Vision, Creating Value

Building Nations is the premier event on New Zealand’s infrastructure calendar. The two-day Symposium provides the opportunity for public and private sectors to come together to progress thinking and advance best practice in national infrastructure development. At its heart, the conference is about discussing and agreeing what must be done to ensure New Zealand’s infrastructure is not just fit-for-purpose, but that our infrastructure supports sustained improvement in the quality of life for all New Zealanders, now and into the future.

Building Nations is the forum for Ministers and key public officials to announce major infrastructure policy directions, and sets Infrastructure NZ’s agenda for action for, and on behalf of, its members.

This year, the focus areas will include: Housing, Technology, Transport Funding, Leveraging Rail, Energy, Enabling Growth, Water, Governance, Planning and Funding, Lifting Capacity and Regional Infrastructure Development.

Attended by over 550 industry and public sector leaders annually, Building Nations provides sponsors with an unparalleled opportunity for profile amongst the leaders of the country and the infrastructure industry.

For more information on Auckland and general travel information for international delegates please see the Visiting NZ page.


Keynote Speakers

Hon Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance

Hon Grant Robertson’s belief in social justice and a desire to see every New Zealander able to achieve their potential led him to politics, and he has been the Member of Parliament for Wellington Central since 2008. Firstly, an advisor to then-Minister of Environment Marian Hobbs, then to Prime Minister Helen Clark. In Opposition, Grant was Finance Spokesperson, and has previously held spokesperson roles for Labour in Employment, Skills & Training, Economic Development, Tertiary Education, State Services, Health, and Arts, Culture & Heritage. He is now the Minister of Finance and for Sport and Recreation.

Hon Phil Twyford, Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Transport

Hon Phil Twyford’s vision is for New Zealand to deliver hope and opportunity to all people. He is committed to fixing the housing and transport problems that affect our biggest city, as well as much of the rest of the country. Phil was elected to Parliament for the Labour Party in 2008. In Opposition, he held the portfolios of Housing, Transport, Auckland Issues, and Disarmament and Arms Control. 
As Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Transport, Phil is looking forward to working with communities to build a better New Zealand.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Maori Development and Local Government

Hon Nanaia Mahuta is a mother, and a constituent MP with 20 plus years’ experience who has supported policies and initiatives that built the capacity of communities, especially social service organisations, greater investment in education, employment and training opportunities particularly for young people, supported the continuation of the Treaty Settlement process and supported specific initiatives that lift the wellbeing and opportunities for young mums and those who are vulnerable and victims of abuse. Hon Nanaia Mahuta is a tribal member of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Hine.

Hon Shane Jones, Forestry, Infrastructure and Regional Economic Development Minister 

Shane Jones is a List MP based in Kerikeri. He was Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, with a particular focus on fisheries, agriculture and tourism, given the significance of these resources to enhancing economic development in the region. During his nine years in Parliament, Mr Jones held positions that included Minister of Building and Construction, Associate Minister of Immigration, Associate Minister of Trade, Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. His Maori tribal links are to Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto.

Peter Reidy, Chief Executive Officer, KiwiRail

Peter Reidy brings to KiwiRail a successful track record of leading and building service and infrastructure-based businesses in the logistics, energy, building products and asset management sectors in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the United Kingdom. Previously Chief Operating Officer Infrastructure Services with Downer Group in Australia, Peter held several senior leadership roles with Downer Group, both in New Zealand and Australia, including Board roles on the KeolisDowner Joint Venture operating Yarra Trams in Melbourne and Gold Coast Light Rail. Prior to joining Downer Group, Peter held senior leadership roles with Fletcher Building, Todd Energy and Freightways in New Zealand.

Katie Black, Head of Transport, Energy and Digital, National Infrastructure Commission

Katie leads the Transport, Energy and Digital policy team at the National Infrastructure Commission in the UK. She joined the Commission upon its creation at the end of 2015, to work on the Commission’s initial report into the energy sector, “Smart Power” and has also published a paper looking at the relationship between technological change and infrastructure systems. Prior to this she worked in various roles across the Department of Energy and Climate Change and undertook a secondment to an electricity retailer.

Shane Ellison, Chief Executive Officer, Auckland Transport

Shane Ellison has more than 20 years of global experience in senior leadership roles across the transport and infrastructure sectors in complex commercial, political and organisational environments. Since 2011, Mr Ellison has held senior executive roles in Transdev Australasia, including being the senior executive responsible for the delivery of Transdev’s operations across ferry, bus and light rail in New South Wales and Queensland. Shane Ellison has whakapapa linking him to the iwi of Ngai Tahu and Te Ati Awa.

Karen Lyons, Director Auckland, Strategy & Investment, Ministry of Transport

Karen’s role at the Ministry is to oversee the portfolio of Auckland projects working with colleagues in both Wellington and Auckland on a wide range of Auckland initiatives.  Prior to joining the Ministry in 2017, Karen progressed a career in Auckland’s local government sector, holding a number of senior positions in economic development, strategy, and governance.  Before working in Auckland, Karen worked as an economist at the New Zealand Treasury and HM Treasury in London.

Dave Cull, President, Local Government New Zealand

Dave was appointed President of LGNZ in July 2017.  He was Vice President of LGNZ from December 2016 - July 2017 and is the Mayor of Dunedin City Council. He was elected Dunedin City Council Mayor at the 2010 local body elections. Since 2007, Dave has been heavily involved in the Dunedin community having sat on various steering groups and committees covering economic development, technology and the environment. Dave’s focus in his second term as Mayor of Dunedin is on strengthening the community and the economic capacity of the city.

Thought Leadership, Panel Speakers & Moderators


To support Building Nations this year, please contact:

Sarah Lang

Project Director & Sponsorship Manager
Infrastructure New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 377 5570
Mob: +64 21 733 434

Sally Bunce

Event & Member Services Director
Infrastructure New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 377 5570
Mob: +64 21 749 449

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