infraread - Te Kawepūrongo Waihanga

Keep up to date with key happenings in the NZ infrastructure space with our Monthly Newsletter.

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  • 28 Oct 2021 8:26 AM | Anonymous

    by Claire Edmondson, General Manager, Infrastructure New Zealand

    It’s been a while since New Zealanders got really excited about infrastructure, but looking at the programme for Building Nations 2021, there is plenty for the sector to be excited about. We are particularly proud of the line-up we’ve been able to put in place since making what felt at the time like a brave decision to deliver Building Nations 2021 as a virtual event.

    With Auckland still in lockdown, and the best current estimates suggesting it will remain that way until at least December, and community cases of Covid-19 emerging elsewhere, we’re encouraged that we made the right call. It was, I suppose, an early fork in the road – the theme of this year’s Building Nations.

    From the urban planning system to diversity in infrastructure to looking to the future, the Building Nations 2021 agenda has shaped up to be a cracker and one that will generate lots of varied discussions that will inform our policy, strategy and advocacy efforts next year and beyond. We are hosting several ministers as well as highly-renowned international speakers.

    Spread over four days from 16-19 November, Building Nations 2021 will empower attendees to look at the big challenges we face in new, transformative ways and encourage collaboration on projects that will bring the greatest good to all New Zealanders.

    Boldly committing to a handful of big decisions to propel us forward could not be more needed than now as New Zealand adjusts to a new normal and forges a path to recovery from Covid-19 and beyond.

    If you have not already secured your tickets, get in quick!

    We look forward to welcoming you to Building Nations 2021.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:22 AM | Anonymous

    by Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer, Water Industry Commission for Scotland

    The father of incentive-based (price cap) regulation, Professor Stephen Littlechild famously wrote that economic regulation was required “to hold the fort until competition arrived”. In gas, electricity and telecoms, competition has appeared to a greater or lesser extent.

    The water sector, however, is quite different from other utility or asset-intensive industries, and the scope for market pressures extremely limited. The cost of moving water, unlike electricity, means there is little real choice about where or what to buy. There are no powerful buyers able to exert any real influence on the supplier. In the absence of competitive tensions, economic regulation of the water sector is very different from other utilities and asset-intensive sectors.

    What I’m about to say may be regarded as heresy by some professional economists, but in my experience (22 years and counting), monitoring the performance of a regulated entity, which is also a monopoly, and ensuring that it remains accountable, is much more important than setting prices – which is how most seem to describe the role.

    I wouldn’t want anyone to take that comment the wrong way, however. Economic regulation does play a vital role in setting prices at the start of any planning period. Regulated companies do need to be given a defined financial envelope to work within. They need, in the economic jargon, to be ‘price takers’ or to face a hard budget constraint.

    To that end, economic regulators have to establish the scope for efficiency that may exist. And to do so, they must indulge in some fairly painstaking benchmarking. Information has to be collected and analysed in great (almost stifling) detail. Economic regulators seek not just to compare unit costs, but also to reflect appropriate differences in the operating environment, the assets operated and the quality of the outputs or outcomes being delivered.

    Close performance monitoring (as evidenced through that information) ensures that the hard budget constraint is maintained. There can be no cutting of corners in levels of service or investment delivered. Be in no doubt, this is a highly technical, specialist function.

    The stronger the management team of a monopoly service provider, the more need there is for robust regulatory scrutiny. A management team will always know more than a regulator about their business, resulting in an inevitable information asymmetry. To compensate for this asymmetry, the regulator must draw on benchmarks over time, across companies or even across borders. There is a lot of devil in the detail....

    So to the devilry!

    Economic regulation involves close and detailed explorations of any variances between what was set out at the start of a planning period and actual performance. It is a highly pro-active role.

    Economic regulators collect a lot of information. This information must be very clearly defined and the regulator will expect commentary to support any submissions. Regulators regularly review what they collect, why they are collecting it, and how often it needs to be collected.

    Is it difficult and time consuming to collect? Yes. But is it also an essential pre-requisite for a well-run and sustainable sector? Yes.

    A regulated entity will often suggest that collecting this information is an undue burden, an expensive luxury or a distraction from providing a quality service to customers and communities. Foxes and chicken coops come to mind.

    Put bluntly, the information an economic regulator asks for is less than the service provider needs to operate efficiently and effectively both now and into the future. As an economic regulator, I would happily stop collecting information where a regulated company can evidence that it does not need to know what is being requested.

    On the side of the angels!

    Perhaps one of the most important elements of this information is that which relates to performance in delivering the capital programme. The economic regulator must ensure that capital programmes – no matter whether they relate to asset replacement, growth or performance/compliance improvement – are delivered. No ifs, no buts, and no excuses.

    In New Zealand this means there should be a close partnership between the economic regulator and Taumata Arowai. The economic regulator will have to draw on the technical expertise of the quality regulator and the water quality information they collect. The quality regulator will need to know whether there are any issues with progress in delivering desired improvements.

    Every quarter, jointly with Scotland’s water quality and environmental regulators and customer representative colleagues, I look at how Scottish Water has progressed each project relative to the agreed target: from detailed design to financial approval to start on site to delivery of the output, and finally confirmation that the desired outcome has been delivered. Where projects lag, questions are asked, and assurances and remedial actions sought. It is this process that ensures customers and communities can have confidence that value for money will be delivered. In a public sector context, the owners of the water operations also benefit from knowing that their policy ambitions are more likely to be achieved both in the short and in the long run. Regulation substantially reduces the information asymmetry that would otherwise exist. This means that policy makers and owners can and should expect more for their communities.

    A regulated organisation can make this reporting process easier if it is proactive in highlighting variances in its capital delivery, and has robust explanations about how it intends to get delivery back on track. There is no scope to wait until a project’s due date has arrived before asking questions about what has been delivered, or, much worse, about why it has not been delivered. Any changes in the agreed capital programme – which should be few in number – must be carefully reviewed.

    Accountability is key – not for policy, but rather for the delivery of policy. An economic regulator usually publishes an annual commentary on the regulated company’s performance. The aim is to make such commentary as clear and accessible as possible. This helps ensure that all parties, be they customers, communities, local councils, or supply chains, can have confidence in the industry, its value for money and its contribution in making our lives better now and into the future.

    What does this mean for water sector reform?

    Economic regulation ensures that information on performance is carefully monitored. For this to happen, early progress will need to be made in improving the quality of information on assets, on performance levels and the costs of operation. As noted earlier, the information the economic regulator requires is only a subset of what is required to run a water business efficiently and effectively. Collecting this information – in all its gory detail – is a critical building block in ensuring that any water reform will realise its full potential. There will always be scepticism about the scope for efficiency identified in a regulator’s benchmarking. But pursuing this proactive route of information collection and analysis will ensure that these regulatory expectations are met. Indeed, the history of the economic regulation of the UK water sector suggests that regulators have consistently underestimated the efficiency the regulated companies have been able to achieve.

    Regulators will look very hard at the information a regulated company provides. The implications of this intense scrutiny are clear. The new regulated entities will need to establish excellent systems and processes for collecting and managing their information. They will need to understand what their information means and its implications. They will have to learn to communicate clearly, logically and consistently. Success will require close detailed conversations with both Taumata Arowai and the economic regulator. Regulated water entities are specialist delivery vehicles that have to be able to evidence their performance and withstand detailed scrutiny. As such, accepting the need to evidence their performance and delivery will need to be central to the new entities’ organisational DNA.

    Falling short typically results in greater scrutiny, more challenge and a loss of confidence in organisations, or in the Board or in the senior management – or in all three. When regulated companies are unable to evidence and explain their performance, regulators typically collect more detail, more frequently. It is these ebbs and flows in levels of scrutiny, challenge and confidence in an entity’s performance that generate the dynamic pressure for efficiency. We may never dismantle the Three Waters Fort, but that does not mean that all of us, as citizens and consumers, should not expect real value for money. Step forward, the regulators!

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:21 AM | Anonymous

    by Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate

    Right now one fundamental issue is failing to ignite public debate in New Zealand.

    Infrastructure is the foundation of every single community – pipes, roads, power and more. But it is poorly understood, poorly appreciated and poorly funded. We have a massive infrastructure issue looming. Yet there is a frightening gap between the investment that’s budgeted in council’s Long-Term Plans, and the money available to fund that investment. 

    Nor is there yet any certainty from Government as to how Wellington may step up to help in a meaningful way. Tools like the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund will barely scratch the surface. In mid-October there was a bi-partisan announcement around housing intensification. This change will drive growth in cities like mine to put in more desperately needed housing, much faster. That’s great, but more housing needs more infrastructure. Right now, I’m not hearing too much said about that.

    The implications for existing infrastructure from the latest Government announcement are yet to be fully understood but some things are crystal clear. The infrastructure costs incurred as a result of increased intensification will be huge. There is not enough money in council coffers to pay and nor is there any willingness from ratepayers to fund more.

    As a politician, this issue is frustrating. Our communities simply do not understand what is coming and not enough people are talking about it. Local government has some responsibility for that. We are good at taking apart the smaller issues that people can more easily understand and even better at talking about parks and playgrounds that people can see and touch.

    But when it comes to hidden infrastructure, it’s different. Out of sight, out of mind.  We are not so good at driving important conversations about massive, long-term concerns that don’t naturally sit within a three-year election cycle. We might communicate the costs of infrastructure to help explain large rates rises. But we don’t do so well in communicating the economic, environmental, and social benefits that our communities demand and that infrastructure drives.

    When it comes to infrastructure the challenges for local government are huge and Hamilton is no exception. We have seen a massive increase in both the scale and value of our capital works programme as we seek to keep up with growth plus meet our legal and growing environmental obligations.

    We have signalled $1.07 billion of ‘unfunded’ infrastructure in the first 10 years of our 30-year Infrastructure Strategy. That’s $145m in water, $204m in wastewater, $49m in stormwater, $542m in transport, $94m in parks and $40m for community infrastructure assets. At year 11, those costs blow out of all proportion.

    Those are eye-watering figures and are unaffordable for a city which is already carrying significant infrastructure-driven debt.

    Hamilton is not alone in this. All councils are under pressure to deliver more but keep rates down. Local politicians have been accused of ignoring issues – like infrastructure investment – which will come to a head in 30 years’ time, in favour of dealing with issues which are important, right now, to their communities. 

    I’ve heard it said we must take the politics out of technical decisions. But one thing is stark. As the HCC Infrastructure Strategy makes clear, “…we need to change. Making incremental and minor changes to how we plan, deliver and fund infrastructure will not be enough.” 

    We will not make substantive progress on this issue, and the challenges ahead, if we do not talk openly with our communities and government about their expectations and the very real funding gap we are facing.  We might be concerned within our sectors, but when it comes to a conversation about infrastructure, we are leaving the public behind.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:17 AM | Anonymous

    The Government and the National Party have come together to jointly announce changes to New Zealand’s planning system to enable more medium density housing and cut red tape that acts as a barrier to development.

    The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill (the Bill) amends the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and seeks to rapidly accelerate the supply of housing where the demand for housing is high.

    The Bill requires territorial authorities in major cities to set more permissive land-use regulations that will enable greater intensification in urban areas by bringing forward and strengthening the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).

    The NPS-UD requires, among other things, that tier 1 territorial authorities amend their RMA plans to enable intensification in urban areas. The current process for plan making, however, means territorial authorities will take until at least August 2024 to deliver the additional housing development capacity unlocked by the NPS-UD.

    The Bill brings forward the implementation of the NPS-UD intensification policies by using the existing streamlined planning process (SPP) with appropriate modifications. The SPP is an alternative process for plan making or changes to provide an expeditious planning process, with opportunities for submissions and a hearing. The modified process introduced in the Bill is the intensification streamlined planning process (ISPP).

    The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 19 October and had its first reading this Tuesday (26 October). The Bill has been referred to the Environment Committee. Submissions on the Bill close on 23 November. The Bill can be viewed here.

    The Bill also introduces medium density residential standards (MDRS) in all tier 1 urban environments, which will enable landowners to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites up to 50% maximum coverage of the site as of right, that is, they will be permitted activities and not require a resource consent. The MDRS will also enable:

    • more flexible height in relation to boundary standards to enable 3 storeys on average-sized sites
    • smaller private outlook spaces (space between windows and other buildings) and private outdoor living spaces (for example, balconies)
    • reduced side yard setbacks to allow development closer to side boundaries
    • more resource consents (when needed) to proceed on a non-notified basis.

    The tier 1 urban environments of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, and Christchurch (serviced by 14 tier 1 territorial authorities) will be required to apply the MDRS in the first instance, with territorial authorities in tier 2 urban environments only being affected if they experience an acute housing need.

    The relevant territorial authorities would need to prepare an intensification planning instrument (IPI) – a plan change to implement the intensification policies and incorporate the MDRS. IPIs will generally need to be notified by 20 August 2022, and their MDRS provisions will have immediate legal effect from the notification date, with some exceptions.

    Territorial authorities will incorporate the MDRS into their planning documents using the ISPP. The ISPP will establish a set of standardised process steps that relevant territorial authorities will use to develop an IPI. It will also be used to implement the MDRS.

    Amongst others, the ISPP will see the establishment of independent hearings panels (IHPs) to conduct hearings on the intensification planning instrument. If the territorial authority does not agree with the IHP’s recommendations, the Minister for the Environment will become the decisionmaker. An IHP’s recommendations would not be limited to the scope of submissions received and may also include recommendations on other matters related to the IPI.

    Projections for development contributions (DCs) tend to be based on district plan-enabled capacity. Currently, district plans typically only allow for one home of up to two storeys. This effectively means councils would be able to generate much more DCs revenue than anticipated by most district plans, which may allow them to comfortably fund any additional growth infrastructure (capacity) not already projected to be provided, e.g. increased infrastructure capacity to cater to higher levels of stormwater runoff due to greater impermeable surface areas. The fixed costs of other growth infrastructure items such as streetlights and cycleways to currently service those single dwellings should generally remain unaffected or only be affected at the margin.

    It is projected the Bill will bring forward the aims of the NPS-UD and help respond to the housing crisis by enabling at least 48,200 and as many as 105,500 new dwellings to be built in the next five to eight years.

    PwC undertook a cost-benefit analysis on the NPS-UD and found that 72,000 additional dwellings could be expected by 2043 as a result of implementing the intensification policies in tier 1 urban areas. PwC now considers this likely to be a conservative estimate.

    Further modelling by PwC has found the proposed medium density rules proposed by the Bill are expected to add 48,200-105,500 dwellings on top of these figures, over the next five to eight years.

    The Bill will undoubtedly be welcomed by the development community and parallels will likely be drawn between the Bill’s intentions, and the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act and the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel process, both of which have been considered success stories.

    At the same time, the Bill deals a severe blow to two schools of thought:

    1. Not In My Backyard (NIMBY)
    2. Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything (BANANA).

    The Bill’s proposals are a move in the right direction and are welcomed by Infrastructure New Zealand, however, we want to ensure that supporting infrastructure is also taken into account. We will be making a submission in support of the Bill and its proposals. If you would like to provide comments and feedback to be considered for inclusion in our submission, feel free to contact Azeem Khan at by 14 November.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:15 AM | Anonymous

    The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission | Te Waihanga has published the draft New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy. The draft strategy’s vision is: Infrastructure lays a foundation for the people, places and businesses of Aotearoa New Zealand to thrive for generations.

    The draft strategy highlights the need to improve our system for planning and building infrastructure, and also make better use of what we already have. It makes 67 recommendations to government, local government and the infrastructure sector around the following 11 topics:

    • Strengthening partnerships and opportunities for Māori
    • Enabling a net-zero carbon emission Aotearoa
    • Supporting towns and regions to flourish
    • Building attractive and inclusive cities
    • Strengthening resilience to shocks and stresses
    • Moving to a circular economy
    • Better decision-making
    • Improving funding and financing
    • An enabling planning and consenting framework
    • Accelerating technology use
    • Building workforce capacity and capability.

    Most of the recommendations concern known issues and work on some is already underway, such as the reform of the resource management system, emissions reduction and a national digital strategy. Some of the recommendations that aren’t necessarily common knowledge and are worth exploring further include:

    • local government amalgamation where appropriate
    • the development and publishing of independent infrastructure priority list to build consensus around key projects and initiatives that address significant long-term problems
    • delivery of a national infrastructure skills plan to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to develop our infrastructure in the medium to long-term.

    Local government will be disappointed the draft strategy does not recommend that councils should be able to retain GST revenue to fund infrastructure.

    Infrastructure New Zealand has been working with the Commission and held a series of workshops around the country earlier this year allowing members to provide direct input to the draft strategy.

    The draft strategy has been submitted to the Minister for Infrastructure, Hon Grant Robertson, and the strategy will be finalised following feedback from him. We understand other government departments have also been given the opportunity to provide comments and feedback on the draft strategy. The draft strategy can be viewed here.

    The final strategy will be submitted to Minister Robertson in early 2022, and will then be tabled in Parliament, after which the Government will have six months to respond to the recommendations within the strategy. The strategy will be updated at least every five years. We hope the Government adopts the recommendations. 

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:09 AM | Anonymous

    The Government has begun consulting on a discussion document titled Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future that will inform and shape New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan.

    The Emissions Reduction Plan will set the direction for climate action for the next 15 years. It will also set New Zealand on a pathway to meeting the 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and biogenic methane targets by implementing policies and strategies for specific sectors, including: transport, energy, waste and f-gases, building and construction, and agriculture and forestry.

    Our agriculture and transport sectors have the highest emissions profile and while the discussion document talks about an equitable transitions strategy, it may well come at a high cost, especially as New Zealand has already switched to importing most of its fossil fuel requirements instead of mining/extracting them locally. This may be attributed to the Government’s fixation with being seen as a world leader on addressing climate change and emissions reduction and to be seen as doing the right thing.

    New Zealanders are set to be taxed more highly for the use of fossil fuels, despite inadequate alternatives in place. This will result in issues like higher fuel prices at the pump to higher electricity costs, affecting not only economic development due to increased costs of doing businesses, but also worsening health outcomes for poorer households unable to cope with increasing electricity costs, especially those who have fallen through the cracks of the housing crisis and may, for instance, be living in garages.

    At 130 pages and with 114 questions the Ministry for the Environment wants feedback on, the discussion document makes for dense reading. The discussion document can be accessed here.

    The September edition of InfraRead noted the Government had decided to push out the timing of a final emissions reduction plan by five months to the end of May 2022. We also speculated consultation would likely be on a consultation document rather than a draft Emission Reduction Plan. This is exactly what has happened – submissions are being sought on a consultation document and it is highly unlikely New Zealanders would get an opportunity to comment on a draft plan.

    One could be forgiven to feel this consultation process is merely a tick-box exercise and that the responses/submissions will likely be themed and grouped, thus diluting the essence and impact of individual submissions. And with that, it is difficult to argue against sceptics who feel that New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan will not necessarily truly reflect what New Zealanders really think and want.

    Infrastructure New Zealand will make a submission. If you would like to provide comments and feedback to be considered for inclusion in the submission, feel free to contact Azeem Khan at by 14 November.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:06 AM | Anonymous

    The Government has appointed a panel to oversee the Future for the Local Government Review. We ran a story in InfraRead’s August edition that looked at the Review’s establishment.

    The Review is considering:

    • the functions, roles, and structures of local government
    • relationships between local government, central government, iwi, Māori, businesses, communities and other organisations
    • necessary changes for local government to most effectively reflect and respond to their communities
    • the embodiment of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    • funding arrangements for local government.

    The panel released its interim report late last month. It can be viewed here.

    The Interim Report sets out the broad direction and five priority questions for the review, in order to support engagement about the future of local governance and democracy. This work will lead to a further report with draft recommendations in 2022.

    The five priority questions are the heart of the review’s next steps and they are as follows:

    1. How should the system of local governance be reshaped so it can adapt to future challenges and enable communities to thrive?
    2. What are the future functions, roles and essential features of New Zealand’s system of local government?
    3. How might a system of local governance embody authentic partnership under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, creating conditions for shared prosperity and wellbeing?
    4. What needs to change so local government and its leaders can best reflect and respond to the communities they serve?
    5. What should change in local governance funding and financing to ensure viability and sustainability, fairness and equity, and maximum wellbeing?

    The Interim Report marks an important milestone in the review process and makes a strong case for change. It confirms all is not well in New Zealand’s local government system and that change is needed for local government to remain relevant. The Interim Report identifies several issues, most of which are well-known such as funding and financing constraints, governance matters, as well as scope creep due to central government requirements that add to councils’ financial pressure. The interim report says the review process will see new local government structures recommended.

    The Review’s next stage will involve a broader public engagement about the future of local governance and democracy in New Zealand, alongside research and policy development. After completing that work, the panel will report to the Minister for Local Government with draft findings and recommendations by late 2022.

    The third stage will involve formal consultation about the Panel’s draft recommendations. It will consider public submissions, before delivering its final report in April 2023.

    Responding to our questions at a recent briefing webinar, the Panel has said that local government could do generally better in terms of delivering on the “four wellbeings”, particularly on economic and social wellbeing, while also noting that while the four wellbeings form a primary purpose of local government, it is not just local government that should be primarily responsible on delivering on those.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:02 AM | Anonymous

    The Government has abandoned the beleaguered Northern Pathway bridge across Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour.

    The July edition of InfraRead ran an opinion piece on this ill-conceived vanity project and we, along with others who opposed the proposal, are pleased the Government has listened and has decided to instead reallocate the funding to other transport projects that reduce emissions and congestion including bringing forward the Eastern Busway, which will achieve similar objectives to the bridge of reducing emissions and congestion.

    Another project the Government wants to bring forward to give East Aucklanders more choices is a 1.9km link between Glen Innes and Panmure to connect the new Eastern Busway cycleway with the Glen Innes to Tamaki cycleway. Additional work will occur in the near future to identify other key links in the Auckland strategic cycling network that can be delivered.

    Work will continue on a public transport-led second Waitematā Harbour crossing. $60 million was allocated in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project earlier this year for planning work and property acquisition to occur.

    Transport Minister Hon Michael Wood has said the Seapath cycleway project will continue, with some redesign at the Harbour Bridge end. The Government will run a short process to investigate lower cost options to create a connection for walking and cycling across the Waitematā Harbour before the additional harbour crossing is built.

    Minister Wood conceded that the Northern Pathway bridge did not get the public support needed for a project of its scale.

    And therein lies a key characteristic that has come to define Minister Wood:

    • from establishing a select committee inquiry so everyone could have a say into congestion pricing in Auckland, to
    • making a fresh start for Auckland light rail to draw a line under the disquiet that surrounded previous ideas for the project and listen to Aucklanders about what sort of light rail system they want, to
    • declining a tolling proposal from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for the new Ara Tūhono – Puhoi to Warkworth motorway north of Auckland due to 80 percent of the affected community opposing it.

    Minister Wood continuously seeks public buy-in into major projects and policies and actively takes into consideration the feedback that is provided.

    Perhaps credit is due to his prior local government experience. Whatever it may be, there is some comfort to be had in knowing we have a transport minister who is interested in the opinions of those inside and outside the proverbial tent.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:01 AM | Anonymous

    The Government is seeking feedback on a discussion document that will inform New Zealand’s Digital Strategy.

    A national digital strategy is long overdue, and the need for one has also been recommended by the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission in its draft Infrastructure Strategy. The last substantial digital strategy New Zealand had was the 2005 Digital Strategy which was updated in 2008 and renamed Digital Strategy 2.0. Technology has advanced rapidly since then and the way we consume technology has changed too.

    Digital technology is already playing a significant role in infrastructure solutions. The Digital Strategy for Aotearoa will need to reflect that and lay out how New Zealand can harness the opportunities digital technology provides. This includes the role of digital infrastructure in addressing the country’s infrastructure deficit.

    The discussion document is built around the three themes of trust, inclusion and growth. These themes are envisaged to form the strategy’s structure.

    A digital strategy will need to serve as a key input in driving economic growth and development, and the discussion document has a heavy focus on connectivity, how we use it and inclusion.

    The consultation document can be accessed here. Submissions close on Wednesday, 10 November.

    Infrastructure New Zealand will make a submission. If you would like to provide comments and feedback to be considered for inclusion in the submission, feel free to contact Azeem Khan at by 1 November.

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Infrastructure New Zealand recently conducted a survey to gauge member sentiment on the need for a dedicated managed and isolation quarantine (MIQ) facility in New Zealand.

    Almost 90 percent of respondents said their organisations had been affected by the closure of New Zealand’s borders with the main impact for most being the inability to bring talent/skilled workers from overseas to address a local skills shortage, especially to support major projects.

    Respondents also cited the inability of New Zealanders to return to New Zealand easily, many being expats who could fill up staff shortages, such as in the planning and engineering fields. Respondents also mentioned the difficult situation of work visa holders who are unable to visit relatives offshore, or have their immediate family join them here.

    One organisation that had been successful said the time from hiring to starting work had taken around eight months.

    Respondents stated they were looking to hire from various countries with the UK, Australia and South Africa being the most listed source countries.

    Respondents identified a range of occupations they had been seeking skilled employees from offshore for – primarily engineers and occupations relevant to the construction sector.

    There was overwhelmingly strong support for a dedicated MIQ facility, with some respondents suggesting such a facility should be able to cater to industries beyond the construction sector and that there was scope for more than just one facility.

    Most respondents favoured such a facility being funded through a public-private partnership arrangement, with others either supporting a private-sector or a government-funded facility. Many respondents said their organisations would be happy to pay for the services.

    Other feedback included the prospect of several dedicated MIQ facilities for skilled workers and that they should preferably be located outside of heavily populated urban areas but with reasonable access to infrastructure.

    The survey results reinforce the need for MIQ capacity for skilled employees from overseas to be part of a suite of measures when safely reopening New Zealand’s borders.

    We intend to share the survey results with relevant government departments and further the conversation at Building Nations 2021.

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