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  • 05 Apr 2017 1:08 PM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    Case for change to build New Zealand’s prosperity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ENDS

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


  • 29 Mar 2017 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    Media Release

    Productivity Commission report demonstrates need for a Royal Commission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ENDS

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


  • 14 Feb 2017 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    media release

    Breakthrough in infrastructure and urban development announced

    "The announcement that urban development authority legislation will be fast tracked and the identification of an indicative route for the Warkworth to Wellsford motorway are major steps forward for infrastructure and growth," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith has proposed legislation to fast track the redevelopment and regeneration of urban areas to better meet housing and commercial needs.

    "This will potentially enable authorities to aggregate land, roll out infrastructure and interface with private developers and contractors to lift housing supply at a scale which could be transformational.

    "Traditional development is clearly inadequate to keep pace with growth. This has resulted in new housing without coordinated infrastructure.

    "Some of the key advantages of an urban development agency are the ability to aggregate land at scale, master plan development, integrate infrastructure, and promote opportunities for private investment.

    "Added to this news is the announcement of the indicative alignment for the 26 km four-lane Warkworth-Wellsford motorway. This will create a seamless connection from Cambridge south of Hamilton to the southern boundary of Northland.

    "The long-throttled economic potential of our northern most region will be unlocked by a reliable, resilient, faster and safer corridor to the major markets and ports of New Zealand.

    "Current timelines would see a confirmed route progressed to the designation and resource consenting phase as early as this year, meaning major regulatory barriers could be overcome by 2018. This would allow a construction start from that point forward, although funding is yet to be confirmed and there are no set timeframes for shovels in the ground.

    "It’s very encouraging to see the Transport Agency approaching the Wellsford motorway as a component of a much grander vision for Northland’s integration into the New Zealand economy.

    "A priority now will be working out ways to connect Northland sooner and getting empowered urban development agencies to work in our high growth cities," Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information or comment, please contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 14 Feb 2017 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Infrastructure NZ Chief Executive Stephen Selwood wrote a feature for Local Government Magazine's Perspectives 2017 issue.

    In this column last year, I wrote that the requirements being placed on local government to protect the environment, grow the economy, deliver local services and keep rates down were incompatible. I called for a Royal Commission into the activities, resourcing and structures of local government to sort out the problem. This year, I’m going to review what’s happened in the space to underline why such an inquiry is urgently needed.

    Download the full article here



  • 25 Nov 2016 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    "Responding to Auckland’s growth challenge and fixing planning legislation and local government funding and structures are the top infrastructure priorities for New Zealand in 2017," said Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    The priorities were confirmed last night at Infrastructure New Zealand’s Annual General Meeting in Auckland.

    "Congestion in Auckland is disproportionate to the city’s size and is rapidly deteriorating. Of greatest concern, travel times along the State Highway 1 motorway corridor have increased by 30 per cent in just the last three years and are projected to get much worse.

    "Earlier this year Infrastructure New Zealand produced a video of the already unacceptable state of congestion, which can be accessed here.

    "Major works underway on the Central Rail Link and motorways must continue at pace and the next tranche of projects to deal with 50,000 more people per annum brought to market.

    "Chief among these is the East West Link.

    "The Onehunga Penrose manufacturing and industrial zone employs approximately 68,000 people and contributes $4.6 billion a year to New Zealand’s economy, but the current transport connections into and through the area are either incomplete or highly congested.

    "The East West Link is essential to enabling movement between state highways 1 and 20 and fixing congested access into and out of Auckland’s premier industrial zone.

    "When the Waterview Connection comes on early next year, it will be vital for resilience and efficiency of the network that traffic can move between the two key corridors as easily as possible.

    "But we mustn’t forget that efforts to deliver on Auckland’s transport priorities can only be successful if we have an aligned growth plan which focuses development in areas where the transport system can accommodate it.

    "Guest speaker Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore highlighted the financial constraints facing the city and how these are impacting the ability to fund the transport investment needed to support Auckland’s growth.

    "Infrastructure New Zealand favours capturing value created by public investment in infrastructure and putting tolling in place to both raise funds and manage demand. These are among options that need to be explored sooner rather than later.

    "Beyond Auckland, fragmented and unnecessarily complex governance structures, complicated and disintegrated planning laws and insufficient funding are frustrating local government’s ability to deliver the infrastructure needed to support regional development and growth.

    "A freshly elected parliament in 2017 provides an opportunity to undertake a first principles review of our infrastructure and local government, planning, governance and funding arrangements nationwide.

    "What’s needed is a fully integrated planning, governance, funding, regulation, delivery, and resource management system that is much more responsive to change and that will drive regional social and economic development, improve environmental outcomes and strengthen local democracy and community engagement.

    "This will require much more than constant tinkering with existing legislative, governance and funding systems.

    "A first principles review of our governance, funding and institutional structures should be a priority for the newly elected government in 2017," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 24 Nov 2016 1:45 PM | Anonymous

    "The Government’s proposed transfer of up to 2500 state houses in Christchurch to community housing providers will allow older homes to be rejuvenated and may also be used to incentivise new approaches to social housing delivery in New Zealand," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "It is very positive to see the Government advancing opportunities for innovation in the provision of social housing at a scale. The offer will be attractive to both domestic and international providers.

    "Tenants will be pleased to know that there will be no reduction of social housing units and that they may have an opportunity to move into a brand new home.

    "As in other parts of New Zealand, state house land in Christchurch is under-capitalised, typically occupied by old, cold and expensive to maintain houses sitting on large sections.

    "More intensified development will enable new homes to be built that are both energy efficient and better designed to meet the needs of social housing tenants as well as offering the opportunity to expand the supply of affordable houses in Christchurch.

    "The value capture opportunity might also enable community housing organisations to provide greater support for those who may have mental, physical, dependency or other difficulties.

    "But it is highly unlikely that it can be used for all three of these desirable outcomes.

    "Given the high cost of tendering for these types of transactions, not for profit housing providers want to ensure every bidding dollar is well spent.

    "It will therefore be essential that the Government is clear about its priorities when it releases information to potential providers next month.

    "In overseas jurisdictions like Canada, government agencies often use a “scope ladder” or outcome focussed approach when tending these kinds of projects. The scope ladders set out the list of outcomes the government desires within a pre-determined affordability threshold.

    "That way, instead of tendering  the lowest price to deliver the minimum acceptable standard of service, bidders are incentivised to deliver the best outcomes they can within the affordability limits that the government has set.

    "If that threshold delivers better outcomes for less money than the cost of the current system then taxpayers, tenants and the Government are assured that they are getting value for money. A win-win opportunity," says Selwood.

    ENDS



  • 22 Nov 2016 12:29 PM | Anonymous

    Auckland must urgently revise transport priorities and the Unitary Plan to better align where people live, work and how they move around, otherwise gridlock will bring the city to a halt, according to a new report from the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    We launched the study of Aucklands transport challenge last year to provide independent input into the Government and Auckland Councils review of transport investment priorities the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). The analysis is also central to NZCIDs submission on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

    ATAPs first report, released in February, showed that by 2026 State Highway 1, as well as other critical parts of the network, will be in gridlock all day every day.

    If that were allowed to happen, the Auckland economy will grind to a halt and liveability would be seriously degraded.

    Projects like the Waterview connection and public transport improvements now underway buy a little bit of time. But we need to act more swiftly if we are to avoid gridlock within a decade.

    A significant part of the problem is that the proposed Unitary Plan and Special Housing Areas allow urban infill and development which cannot be economically served by transport and don't allow sufficient density adjacent to rail and busway stations.

    This forces car dependency and makes congestion much worse than it needs to be.

    To decongest Auckland and improve liveability the report recommends that we must:

    • Substantively revise land use provisions as set out in the Auckland and Unitary plans to target intensification around public transport and sequence growth to match transport availability
    • Loosen residential development and height restrictions in areas with quality public transport access and strengthen restrictions in areas without it
    • Enable satellite city development at scale beside rail with a focus on the Pukekohe to Manukau corridor
    • Develop mixed use "live, walk and work" communities
    • Improve the frequency and convenience of public transport services to major centres of employment, education and entertainment
    • Vastly increase park and ride facilities and provide express bus services across the public transport network
    • Deliver new capacity across the road network with a focus on fixing traffic pinch points and rigorously evaluate all options, including an eastern-aligned harbour crossing connecting to an eastern corridor
    • Implement road pricing to increase network capacity, fund ongoing improvement and accommodate electric vehicles
    • Promote teleworking and work from home initiatives leveraging digital connectivity
    • Invest in leading edge intelligent traffic management systems
    • Embrace and leverage new car technology wherever possible, but recognise that it does not yet provide a silver bullet solution to Auckland's transport issues
    • Ensure land use and transport policy is adaptive to technological and other changes as and when they become clear

    Auckland can have a road system which moves and a reliable high quality public transport network which gets people to work on time.

    But to achieve that outcome we need to sort out the Unitary Plan to target high amenity intensification around public transport, increase motorway and arterial network capacity, leverage new technology to the max and price the network to manage demand and fund new investment, Selwood Says.

    NZCIDs Transport Solutions for a Growing City report is available for download here

    Keeping Auckland Moving - a ten-minute video on problems and solutions to gridlock is available here


  • 28 Oct 2016 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launched the Australia & New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline (ANZIP), developed by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia in partnership with Infrastructure New Zealand and the NZ National Infrastructure Unit. http://infrastructurepipeline.org/

    "ANZIP provides a detailed and informed picture of upcoming greenfield and brownfield infrastructure investment or major construction opportunities, across the two countries", says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    "This new, dedicated and independent resource segments greenfield and brownfield infrastructure from early stage, prospective projects or divestments, through to final contract award.

    "In this way, ANZIP provides infrastructure investors, contractors and jurisdictions with a clear picture of likely and confirmed infrastructure activity, across Australia and New Zealand.

    "ANZIP provides improved transparency about what infrastructure activity will occur where – and also provides a likely or confirmed time line – allowing the market to prepare the financial and human resources needed.

    "ANZIP is a central portal, with links through to government planning documents, budgets and other materials and resources to provide a dynamic, holistic view of the infrastructure pipeline", Selwood Says

    ANZIP is focused only on major infrastructure activity, above the following thresholds:

    Australia: 
    Construction projects: > AUD$300m
    Investable greenfield & brownfield: > AUD$100m

    New Zealand
    All greenfield and brownfield projects and divestments: > NZD $100 million

  • 25 Oct 2016 3:52 PM | Anonymous

    New Zealand's peak infrastructure body, the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development has relaunched as Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "Infrastructure New Zealand better reflects the wide range of priorities facing the organisation today, including transport funding, project procurement and regional governance and planning reform," says Infrastructure New Zealand chief executive Stephen Selwood.

    "When NZCID was created 12 years ago, New Zealand's infrastructure challenges were of a different kind. We had severely under-invested in assets critical for economic and social development for a generation. We needed investment and we needed it urgently. Our entire organisational focus was on infrastructure development.

    "Pleasingly, as a country we have since tackled many of our most urgent priorities. We've invested in our electricity backbone, ramped up investment in transport networks across the country and transformed our telecommunications sector from a global laggard to world leader, for example.

    "But significant opportunities for improvement remain.

    "Lifting capability in public procurement of major projects has potential to save the country billions of dollars over coming years. Getting land use and pricing right could make our transport dollars go much further – especially in Auckland. Revising infrastructure responsibilities so that asset owners have the resources and capability to deliver could see a step change in service delivery in the provinces.

    "Our new name - Infrastructure New Zealand – better encapsulates our role as New Zealand’s peak infrastructure industry body.

    "Our immediate priorities will be to focus on the really challenging issues that continue to hold New Zealand back including:

    - The need for reform of our planning laws and institutions to better align infrastructure planning, funding and delivery
    - The need to shift to road pricing to fund much needed transport investment and manage traffic demand more effectively
    - Lifting procurement capability across the industry
    - Accelerating the use of private capital to deliver better outcomes across the sector

    "The new logo represents a connected New Zealand. It symbolises networks across transport, energy, water, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

    "It also symbolises our strong desire for effective partnerships between the public and private sectors to deliver better outcomes for all of New Zealand," says Selwood.

    Infrastructure New Zealand can be found at www.infrastructure.org.nz and contacted at 09 377 5570.



  • 20 Oct 2016 10:30 AM | Anonymous

     "Introduction of dynamic motorway tolls in Auckland would help decongest our road network and provide the quickest, most efficient and most equitable way to bridge the annual $400m transport investment funding gap", said Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

    "Speaking at the annual Building Nation’s Symposium in Auckland this morning, Selwood shared the business sector’s concern that the proposed timeframe for addressing Auckland’s transport issues was far too long.

    "A 10 year wait for road pricing as suggested in the recent Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) report leaves the agreed investment programme $4 billion short and, if not addressed urgently, congestion will become chronic.

    "An immediate solution to funding and congestion is required.

    "Introducing a dynamic toll on the motorway system at a price which maximises traffic flows would allow more traffic to use the motorway at faster speeds, providing a direct benefit to users, and help bridge the $4 billion ten-year funding gap.

    "The optimum speed which maximises traffic flows is between 80km/h and 60 km/h. At those speeds you can travel 20 kilometres on the motorway in just 15 or 20 minutes.

    "When speeds rise above 80 km/hr, safe drivers increase the gap between themselves and the car in front. While travel times are faster, the overall traffic flow is reduced.

    "And when speeds drop to just 20 km/h - the typical average speed in the morning and evening peaks - it takes an hour to drive the same twenty kilometres.

    "That’s a waste of everyone’s time and money and is a huge cause of frustration for Aucklanders.
    Dynamic tolling would allow authorities to adjust the price up and down to maximise traffic flow on the motorway and reduce demand on local roads.

    "Those who choose to pay benefit from a faster trip. Those who don’t have options to drive free on other roads, take public transport, walk or cycle. Others may choose to share their car to reduce the cost of the toll or travel at different times.

    "Motorists will set the price by their collective action.

    "A system like this could be introduced within a few years using existing number plate recognition technology – like we have on the Northern Gateway toll road. There’s no need for a tracking device in every car or satellites in the sky to implement such a scheme.

    "Motorists will be advised of the current price on their phones before they leave. Variable message signs would also inform motorists well before they reach the motorway on-ramps.
    Revenue from the tolls would be used to bridge the $400 million per annum funding gap identified by ATAP.

    "Encouragingly, a 2015 Colmar Brunton survey of 5000 Aucklanders found 57 per cent preferred the use of motorway tolls to fund transport investment than rates and fuel taxes.

    "A dynamic tolling system on the motorway will raise the funds needed for investment, without disincentivising travel and provide users a direct benefit in travel time savings. A “win-win” solution," Selwood says.

    For further comment, please contact Stephen on 021-791 209.


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