Infrastructure new Zealand MEDIA RELEASES

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

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  • 31 Mar 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s new light rail establishment unit represents an opportunity to rethink the wider transport and development vision for Auckland to tackle congestion, carbon and housing affordability challenges,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Policy Director, Hamish Glenn.

    “The Government announced today it is setting up a new Establishment Unit to evaluate options for rapid transit between the city centre and Mangere. The new unit will sit inside Waka Kotahi and be led by an independent chair with a governance board comprising representatives from Auckland Transport, Auckland Council, Ministry of Transport, Kainga Ora and Waka Kotahi itself.

    “It is expected to report back to the Government towards the end of the year on mode, route, costing, funding, financing, value capture and delivery entity.

    “This is an ambitious timeline and the new Minister deserves credit for moving quickly to address questions over the future of the project.

    “The unit is expected to engage communities left out of the previous process. It will be important to engage not just communities but the industry which will be required to deliver light rail and which has endured several years of uncertainty.

    “Early clarity will be important for the financial community in particular who will need to understand what the Government’s appetite is for private sector involvement.

    “Essential to the success of the Unit and its ability to develop a project which endures political cycles will be a broad mandate which answers major outstanding questions about the future growth and development of Auckland.

    “Recently released ATAP analysis found that congestion and carbon emissions both worsen under current transport plans and there remains no evidence that housing can be delivered at a price point Aucklanders can afford.

    “What is the transport network that Auckland needs to be a competitive, equitable and sustainable economy?

    “What does a transport system which achieves a net zero carbon New Zealand in 2050 look like?

    “Where and when will competitive land supply which enables affordable housing be unlocked?

    “If the Establishment Unit can answer these questions and demonstrate that light rail between the city centre and Mangere is an essential component then public concerns with the project will quickly dissipate.

    “This project is a test case for the future of integrated transport and development in New Zealand.

    “Other major cities in New Zealand will be watching the progress of the Unit closely as will the domestic and international infrastructure sector,” Glenn says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229

  • 23 Mar 2021 1:16 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The new $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund will help address short to medium term infrastructure barriers to housing, but only if it is integrated with a visible, committed and sequenced pipeline of projects that encourages industry to invest, scale up and lift construction sector productivity,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The Government has announced a raft of supply and demand side measures to address rapid property price inflation, including changes to the brightline test, increases to first home buyer caps and removal of interest deductibility for property investors.

    “Pleasingly, the Government has committed a very significant $3.8 billion to overcoming infrastructure barriers to new housing developments and provided a further $2 billion debt facility to Kāinga Ora.

    “However, while this investment is urgently needed and will be widely welcomed, there is a risk that new investment starts competing with existing commitments to the NZ Upgrade programme, shovel ready projects, rising three waters commitments and other critical initiatives.

    “To avoid competing for the same fixed pool of labour and other resources, it is extremely important that visibility of the forward work programme is improved.

    “Designers, architects, contractors, subbies and the raft of other critical service providers who take each project from idea to reality need to understand what’s coming up not just in the next 6 months, but over 3-5 years and beyond if they are to invest in the systems, skills and capacity to meet a growing workload.

    “For this reason, it was also very positive to see in today’s announcement that the Government will boost apprenticeships.

    “But the sector still needs better clarity of when projects will be brought to market and confidence that timeframes and priorities will be predictable.

    “Project sequencing which avoids market participants from competing for the same pool of labour and which encourages companies to invest in training and productivity is critical, as is progress on getting skills which can’t be sourced locally into the country.

    “New Zealand’s infrastructure and construction sector can meet the challenge, but can meet it faster and more affordably with a clearer sightline of the programme ahead,” Glenn says

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229

  • 12 Mar 2021 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Auckland’s record ten year transport investment programme is an impressive achievement one year after lockdown crippled the New Zealand economy, but clearer national direction and new ideas and solutions will be required to achieve the outcomes Auckland and the Government want,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The 2021-31 Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) package represents the combined investment programme of the Government (including Waka Kotahi) and Auckland Council and signals $31.4 billion over ten years, up from $28 billion in the 2018-28 programme.

    “Pleasingly, the package is expected to see a reduction in per capita emissions of 13 per cent and of deaths and serious injury by 60 per cent. In addition, there will be an improvement in accessibility to jobs by 30 minute car journey of 14 per cent, an impressive 60 per cent improvement to employment by 45 minute public transport journey and delivery of 17,000 homes will be brought forward.

    “These are good indicators reflecting considerable commitment from authorities in difficult conditions, but they are balanced somewhat by expectations for worse congestion on motorways and a total increase in carbon emissions due to expanding population.

    “A bigger question surrounds what the investment programme will actually deliver against the things that really matter to Aucklanders and New Zealand – productivity, equity, incomes, cost of living, health and sustainability.

    “Is the city finally going to perform to its productive potential, or will congestion continue to reduce the competitiveness of businesses trying to access labour and markets?

    “Will lower income Aucklanders pushed to the margins of the city by a deepening housing crisis have access to employment?

    “And is 17,000 homes enough to tackle the housing crisis or will access to land continue to thwart scale development and affordable housing supply?

    “The Government needs to identify what role it thinks Auckland should play in the wider New Zealand story and start using transport as the enabler to achieve that, rather than as an end in itself.

    “Clearer national direction will in turn help answer the really big questions not tackled by ATAP today like what form and function a new harbour crossing should take and who should fund any decision on light rail.

    "It will also catalyse much needed debate on the really big solutions the city needs, including road pricing, value capture and how best to transition the city to electric and less carbon intensive travel options.

    “Such an approach would be consistent with the Government’s Wellbeing Agenda and would help Auckland tackle stubborn housing, economic and social challenges,” Glenn says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 04 Mar 2021 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    Infrastructure New Zealand Director Strategic Partnerships, Sarah Lang has been selected as one of 13 Association Influencers in 2020, an inaugural program hosted by the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) highlighting the outstanding contributions of individuals in the association community across Australia and New Zealand.

    AuSAE took the opportunity to launch the inaugural Association Influencers Program in 2020, to recognise individuals in Australia and New Zealand’s Association sector as they stood front and centre - supporting, protecting and advocating for their members as the once in a generation global crisis unfolded.

    An independent judging panel of experienced and passionate association leaders selected the Association Influencers based on how they demonstrated influence, exemplary leadership, unrivalled guidance, strength in resilience and service to the sector over the last 12 months.

    The panel noted "Sarah has inspired countless peers, and her vision and drive in sustainable events and developing programmes specific to women and young professionals is admirable."

    Among her many achievements, Sarah founded the Women's Infrastructure Network NZ and is an advocate for the advancement of women in the infrastructure sector. Sarah has led the growth of the WIN network to over 2100 members, spread over seven chapters nationwide.

    Sarah also established Infrastructure NZ’s young leader Emerging Talent Network for upcoming leaders in the infrastructure sector, under the age of 35. This network now has 3 Chapters in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and over 800 members.

    Lyn McMorran, AuSAE President and Judging Panelist described the high calibre of the nominees in this first year of the program.

    “It has been our privilege to acknowledge each and every one of the nominated individuals; their tireless efforts to making a significant and lasting impact within the Association industry and setting the benchmark for their fellow professionals into the future.

    “We thank all our nominees for their continued support and commitment to our community over the last 12 months and congratulate all our Association Influencers of 2020,” said Lyn McMorran.

    To meet the AuSAE Association Influencers 2020 and nominees, visit: Association Influencers 2020 (ausae.org.au)


  • 10 Feb 2021 2:27 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “We are pleased to see progress on the repeal and replacement of the Resource Management Act 1991, but the proposal to split land use planning and strategic planning risks increases uncertainty for the Government, iwi, communities of interest and infrastructure providers,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The proposal outlined by Environment Minister Parker today retains the basic legislative architecture recommended by the Randerson Review Panel last year.

    “A new Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) will replace the body of the RMA, but will retain the RMA’s combined approach to environmental protection and land use planning. A new Strategic Planning Act will consolidate functions currently spread across the Local Government Act and Land Transport Management Act to enable integrated spatial planning.

    “In addition, a new Climate Change Adaptation Act will be established to facilitate managed retreat and other issues resulting from climate change.

    “Positively, the Government has moved to reduce the large number of statutory plans required under the RMA and we could in the future see as few as 14 combined plans overseeing land use planning and environmental protection decisions.

    “However, the proposal to integrate environmental protection with land use planning means that the Government proposes to continue separating land use planning from strategic planning.

    “This will mean that strategic spatial plans agreed by Government, iwi, councils and local communities will have to proceed through a separate legislative process under the NBA before implementation.

    “What happens if a project or development critical to realisation of an agreed regional spatial plan conflicts with an outcome or objective under the NBA?

    “If the answer is litigation, uncertainty and poor delivery of critical services and homes, then these reforms will have failed.

    “A better outcome would be achieved if environmental protection was split from planning, establishing firm bottom lines which truly protect the environment.

    “Strategic and land use planning could then be much more tightly integrated to achieve economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes above and beyond bottom lines.

    “Regulation under an Environmental Protection Act would be used to protect the things which cannot be compromised. Investment under a Planning Act would deliver the kind of New Zealand we all want.

    “This simplified architecture would better align with much-needed reforms to funding and financing of public services and improvements to the capacity and capability of delivery agencies.

    “It would also increase the certainty that regionally agreed plans will be delivered as and when required, helping boost confidence in our planning and development system.” Glenn says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 09 Feb 2021 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Andrew Stevens has announced Owen Gill as the new Chief Executive of Infrastructure NZ, effective 9 February 2021.

    Owen joins the organisation with extensive experience in public policy and regulation, both here and in Australia and served as acting CEO at Financial Services Council in 2016. Recently he has worked as a consultant with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, New Zealand Law Society, and the Commerce Commission. In 2019 he wrote the book Turning Point Auckland on the long-term future of the city.

    “Owen joins us at a crucial point for our sector and the board anticipates Owen will assist us - the board, the team, and our members - to accelerate Infrastructure NZ into the rapidly-developing era of infrastructure, and infrastructure policy, in New Zealand.” Stevens says.

    “Government policy and decisions have re-made the infrastructure sector at a rapid pace, over the last 2-3 years. Further, the policy agenda and decisions that are in-front of New Zealand, over the coming 3-5 years, are substantial and will determine the wealth and prosperity of New Zealand into the mid-21st century.

    Infrastructure NZ - as an industry body and think tank - has a substantive role to play in those decisions, and to accommodate the acceleration in the infrastructure sector, to the benefit of New Zealand and Infrastructure NZ's members.” Gill says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Andrew Stevens on 027 245 7730


  • 10 Dec 2020 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Government prioritisation of house prices above the supply, quality and affordability of housing would be a serious concern and would lock in intergenerational inequality, poor productivity and low incomes,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Policy Director Hamish Glenn.

    On Tuesday the Government suggested that retaining and even increasing house prices could become a focus for the Government, something that was not signalled prior to the election.

    “The principal issue with the Government turning its focus to house price increases, or even house price stability, is that the cost of new housing has already inflated well above what it actually costs to deliver a home.

    “In 2017, Infrastructure New Zealand showed that new housing could be integrated with infrastructure services and delivered at scale in Auckland’s south for under $400,000.

    “That homes are selling for around twice this amount reflects choices made by central and local government, including to constrain land and density and to limit both infrastructure investment and the ability of developers to access infrastructure finance.

    “In seeking to protect, let alone increase, house prices, the Government locks these artificially high housing costs in and is effectively asking new homeowners to cover the cost of poor policy.

    “More troublingly, if the reason the Government wants to lock in artificially high housing costs is because it wants to protect the investment portfolios of people who already have homes then we as a society need to take a very long look at ourselves.

    “We have to ask whether this is fair, whether it meets the needs of New Zealanders now and into the future and whether determining prices is the right role for Government.

    “We know that New Zealanders are already paying proportionately the most in the OECD for housing. We know that high rents to pay for large mortgages are consuming the discretionary income of those who do not own property, while increasing property values make homeowners richer, exacerbating inequality.  

    “We also know that the attractiveness of housing investment, partly due to confidence that government will not let prices fall, is attracting capital away from more productive uses leaving the New Zealand economy uncompetitive and incomes low.

    “If there is a risk today to the financial sector from house prices being allowed to return to levels reflecting what it actually costs to deliver housing, then we need to ask, firstly, whether it is right that we ask the next generation to cover the costs of poor decisions by the previous generation. Second, we need to ask whether doubling down at this stage simply makes the problem greater further down the road.

    “Rather than seek to manage prices to levels reflecting past failed policies, the Government should accelerate its own Urban Growth Agenda, which contains a raft of sensible policies to reduce barriers to affordable housing.

    “Better still, the Government could articulate exactly what it wants to achieve in housing, translate that into the number of homes we need, where and when and incentivise and support local authorities to help it achieve its objective.

    “Doing so would improve health and educational outcomes, increase the disposable incomes of families, redirect capital to more productive uses and make New Zealand a fairer and more inclusive country,” Glenn says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 02 Dec 2020 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The infrastructure sector remains hopeful that the Government can deliver on its vision for New Zealand, but quick action on strategy, planning, skills and funding commitment is required,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand. 

    Two weeks ago, Infrastructure New Zealand’s ReBuilding Nations Symposium brought together over 800 infrastructure industry leaders across two days to examine how the country can ‘Build Back Better’. In each session, polls were run with the support of Technology Sponsor Beca to gauge industry priorities and concerns. 

    The clear message from the sector was that the Government must move quickly to demonstrate how it is going to achieve its priorities. 

    “While four out of five respondents felt somewhat or very confident that New Zealand’s leadership has a clear vision for action in our post-COVID recovery, half were not very or not at all confident that the country can deliver its infrastructure pipeline. 

    Over 40% of attendees said that a lack of strategy and planning would hamper our future development. This was followed with equal concern about lack of capability, capacity, and skills and insufficient funding and financing. 

    “Delegates were asked if they thought our country will make the changes necessary to transform and build back better. A quarter did not think so but just over one-half still believe we can – if we get going immediately. 

    “Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Andrew Stevens summarised things best in noting that many of the challenges we heard over the two days of the conference could have been quotes from five years ago, that’s how little has changed,” said Glenn. 

    In responseInfrastructure New Zealand today releases six Policy Priorities for addressing the challenges in our infrastructure system and accelerating the shift from talking to action: 

    1. Establish a National Vision with National Strategic Outcomes 
    2. Build an Infrastructure Strategy designed to achieve the outcomes 
    3. Reform our planning system to align outcomes with spatial planning, funding, and governance 
    4. Develop the skills and human capital needed to deliver the infrastructure pipeline 
    5. Commit funding using incentives, price signals, private capital, and beneficiary pays wherever possible 
    6. Revise governance to ensure organisations charged with infrastructure delivery have the scale, capacity, capability and desire to implement.  

    Rupert Hodson, Beca Northern Regional Manager said, “We are encouraged and excited about the opportunities ahead of us.  

    “This conference has highlighted that we have the policy framework largely in place and the road map to complete it; we know what the challenges are, and the government has set the aspiration to build back better.  

    The challenge for us all now is to grab the opportunity, use the tools we have available and get on with doing it. We’re in this together, and we look forward to what the next few years bring,” said Hodson. 

    To see the entire Beca poll results on topics such as infrastructure resilience, the housing crisis, resource management, and more, click here. 

    To see a copy of Infrastructure New Zealand’s latest report on how the Government can integrate planning and investment to achieve its National Vision, click here. 

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229



  • 30 Nov 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Today’s release of a study showing the benefits of road pricing in Auckland is a step in the right direction, but if we don’t take action and move to implementation, we will be having the same conversation again in another five years,” says Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.

    The Congestion Question's Phase Two report shows that tolling strategic corridors on the Auckland road network would lead to an 8-12% network improvement, similar to traffic flows during school holidays.

    “This result is unsurprising to anyone familiar with this topic – Stockholm saw sustained 20% reductions in flow after its scheme was introduced – and is consistent with earlier reports on road pricing in Auckland over the last 15 years.

    “Unfortunately, the only thing that has changed in that period is that congestion has become worse.

    “Congestion is not only a problem in Auckland, as Wellington is facing very similar problems going forward, with an even more restricted physical landscape.

    “The Government should investigate how an Auckland solution could be implemented in other regions or indeed nationwide. 

    “The time to act is now. Not only is congestion continuing to worsen, our increasingly efficient vehicle fleet is paying less and less into the National Land Transport Fund, meaning there will be less money to maintain our existing network.

    “The Government needs to consider how road pricing schemes could integrate with broader road user charges for non-fossil fuel vehicles in the future.

    “Our Government has an unprecedented mandate to solve the long-standing issues we are facing. We hope they find the courage to seize the solutions that we have known about for a long time,” says Glenn.

    In 2015 Infrastructure New Zealand featured insights into the successful road pricing scheme in Stockholm, much of which informed today’s report. To learn more about why and how the Stockholm approach to road pricing worked, click here to watch a presentation from Jonas Eliasson, former Head of Stockholm City Transportation Department, that he gave for one of our past Building Nations Symposiums.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229


  • 19 Nov 2020 9:14 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Hamilton City Council’s Te Awa River Path Project won the 2020 Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer at the ReBuilding Nations Gala Dinner last night.

    The project repaired and restored a 2.4km section of the Te Awa River Ride path which runs along the western side of the Waikato River, while creating employment for 50 people who had lost jobs due to COVID19.

    Award judge, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and award-winning social and sustainable procurement expert Alice Bray said the Te Awa River Path was an excellent example of an infrastructure initiative that has gone above and beyond to enable outstanding economic, social and cultural outcomes. “Te Awa River project captured the heart of the Excellence in Social Impact Award. Hamilton City Council went above and beyond to provide for those facing unemployment due to COVID19, partnering with their supplier base, other government agencies and their community to create lasting economic and employment outcomes for their region. The swift action and leadership taken by all involved in the Te Awa River project resulted in positive change for the 50 individuals impacted, their whānau and wider community. COVID19 required us to band together to support each other, a mission that this project absolutely succeeded in.”

    Hamilton City Council (HCC) was granted funding by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Growth Fund in June 2020 to enhance a section of the much-loved Te Awa River Ride Pathway, which connects key destinations and green spaces throughout the city and provides important recreation opportunities for Hamiltonians. HCC sourced workers for the project from the Ministry of Social Development, with a focus on employing those who were out of work due to the COVID19 pandemic.

    Another aim of the project was to provide workers with skills they could use in future employment. 17 workers completed HCC’s five-day Road Ready training programme aimed at preparing workers for careers in the construction sector and equipping them with transferrable skills they could use for life.

    Recognising the importance of the Waikato’s awa (rivers and waterways) to Iwi, HCC partnered with Waikato-Tainui and Ngati Haua Trust to deliver the training programme and project.

    Infrastructure New Zealand Board Member and award judge Tracey Ryan said the Te Awa River project demonstrated a clear intention and genuine impact, “Hamilton City Council achieved a range of outcomes with the Te Awa River Path project – enhancing the environment to make Hamilton a great place to live, work, play and visit, while providing immediate support and recovery to people who had lost jobs due to COVID19. HCC also provided an important boost to the local economy by letting 100% of the contract value to local businesses.”

    Hamilton City Council was chosen from 18 other entries to win the Infrastructure New Zealand Excellence in Social Impact Award, sponsored by Downer.


    Several other projects also received special awards:

    Highly Commended

    • Auckland Council-owned Healthy Waters and Māori SME Height Project Management for their Sustainable Outcomes Toolkit, a user-friendly resource to help procuring organisations identify social outcomes opportunities, embed them in the tender process and evaluate and measure them.
    • Citycare for their partnership with the Student Volunteer Army to fund community impact projects and their commitment to creating employment opportunities for Māori and Pasifika, the long-term unemployed, the disabled, youth and women prisoners finishing their sentences.

    Special Award - Contribution to the Industry

    • Mates in Construction for its contribution to the construction industry in reducing the over representation of suicide and poor mental health.


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Sarah Lang on 021 733 434


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