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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  • 14 Aug 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    The country’s largest infrastructure conference, the annual Infrastructure New Zealand Building Nations Symposium, gets underway Thursday 16 August at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.

    “With over 600 registered delegates, this is our largest ever conference and couldn’t come at a more important time for an industry experiencing a mix of ups and downs,” says Infrastructure NZ chief executive Stephen Selwood.

    “Representatives from across central and local government, infrastructure operators and the many contractors, investors and professional service providers who make up the infrastructure sector will gather over two days to hear from Prime Minister Ardern, four Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, three mayors and deputy mayors, China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, the UK’s Minister for Investment, seven other international speakers and over 30 sector leaders.

    “There is quite a degree of excitement about the emerging infrastructure programme, but also some lingering uncertainty about the timing and distribution of work.

    “Industry will be looking to the very strong Government contingent to give confidence to the path ahead.

    “Infrastructure funding and financing, regional and urban transport and development, infrastructure capability and reform of planning and water are all key issues for the sector, so presentations from Ministers Robertson, Twyford, Jones and Mahuta will be keenly observed.

    “We are privileged to have a number of government infrastructure body leaders over from Australia and the UK to discuss how specialised procurement and strategic infrastructure planning capability can improve public investment.

    “Tackling Auckland’s growth crisis, most notably congestion and the housing crisis, is a key topic for delegates, both as residents and as employers finding it challenging to attract and retain staff. Presentations from the Auckland Council and Ministry of Transport provide an opportunity to demonstrate how authorities are addressing key public concerns.

    “Current policy priorities including the roll out of rail, construction productivity and procurement, transport funding, technology and governance reform will all be discussed.

    “This is our largest ever programme and our biggest ever event, a sign that infrastructure remains the outstanding priority for New Zealand,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 07 Aug 2018 8:25 AM | Anonymous

    Listen to Stephen Selwood on the breakfast show from 23:42.

  • 06 Aug 2018 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    Stephen Selwood told Mike Hosking the focus on keeping costs down has made construction a riskier game. Listen to his interview here.

  • 30 Jul 2018 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE 

    “The National Construction Pipeline report issued today by MBIE shows infrastructure investment projections down dramatically on those of 2017, highlighting the problem of uncertainty in the infrastructure sector and raising serious questions about New Zealand’s ability to service new housing,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of infrastructure New Zealand.




    “BRANZ research shows last year's spending was down 9% on the 2017 projections. While their research indicates an increase in capital intentions in the near term, they also show a subsequent drop-off from the beginning of 2021. Putting the initial bump aside, overall infrastructure capital expenditure is forecast to flatline over the next five years.

    “The Capital Goods Price Index (CGPI) has been rising at 3 per cent over the past decade, suggesting there could be even less investment in infrastructure in the early 2020s than there is today – and we already know that we’re well short of where we need to be.

    “Auckland, a city buckling under the pressure of growth compounded by decades of infrastructure underinvestment, will, even with major Government investments announced to date, fall in real terms over the next five years.

    “BRANZ projections show that construction activity is projected to fall everywhere outside of Auckland over the next couple of years.

    “We will not be able to address homelessness and meet growth with less infrastructure investment. Homes need pipes, roads and cables and new approaches to infrastructure investment need to be implemented.


    “This is a very timely report and provides a clear signal to Government that it needs to move up a gear with urgency.

    “There are projects in the pipeline sitting there waiting for signoff, including Mill Rd, Penlink and the East West Link in Auckland as well as components of Let’s Get Wellington Moving and major upgrades to the SH2 corridor north of Tauranga among other state highway projects nationwide.

    “These projects are needed for homes, tourism and regional economic development.

    “If the government chooses not to fund these and other projects itself, it needs to allow private capital to be deployed to accelerate investment in transport, water and social infrastructure to support housing and growth,” Selwood says.

    A copy of the National Construction Pipeline can be found here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/publications-research/research/construction-sector-productivity/national-construction-pipeline-report-2018.pdf

    ENDS

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


  • 27 Jul 2018 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The importance and value of arm’s length infrastructure advice to Government to assist infrastructure decision-making will be the keynote topic at this year’s Building Nations Symposium,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Katie Black from the National Infrastructure Commission in the UK, Jim Betts from Infrastructure NSW, Michael Masson from Infrastructure Victoria, Allan Garcia from Infrastructure Tasmania and Anna Chau from Infrastructure Australia will all be discussing national infrastructure leadership and strategy on Day 2 of the conference.

    “McKinsey Global Institute has found that up to 40 per cent of infrastructure spending globally is not spent effectively because of issues with infrastructure strategy, governance and capability.

    “The potential gains for New Zealand are significant.

    “Even just a five percent improvement achieved through good project selection, streamlined delivery and optimising assets could generate $5 billion in added value on the $100 billion infrastructure investment that is planned over the next ten years.  

    “With such large demands on transport, water and social infrastructure up and down the country, putting in place the measures to support improved strategic capability and procurement must be a priority.

    “Each of the political systems closest to ours – Australia, the UK and Canada – have achieved significant improvements in infrastructure efficiency with arm’s length centralised infrastructure agencies.

    “Entities like Infrastructure Australia and the UK National Infrastructure Commission provide strategic advice to Government decision makers and help build public consensus and bi-partisan political support on long-term infrastructure needs and challenges.

    “Organisations like the Scottish Futures Trust, Infrastructure Ontario and the “I-bodies” in Australia support central and local infrastructure providers to deliver complex projects efficiently, helping to reduce the chance of cost blowouts and improving joined-up thinking with other public providers.

    “These bodies bring together the best expertise from the public and private sectors to support multiple projects at any one time up and down the country.

    “The combination of hands-on infrastructure delivery expertise with long-term strategic planning consolidated in a single independent infrastructure body can help New Zealand meet its growth challenge.

    “Giving the body arm’s length independence from a defined Ministry frees up officials from reporting and administration and allows them to focus on making operational improvements.

    “Decision making always remains with responsible Ministers, Mayors and other infrastructure leaders, but they all can benefit from improved advice and support from career professionals who understand infrastructure,” Selwood says.

    Building Nations is New Zealand’s largest annual infrastructure industry conference and will take place at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on August 16-17.

    ENDS

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

  • 26 Jul 2018 10:12 AM | Anonymous

    Listen to Stephen Selwood's interview with The Panel here.

  • 24 Jul 2018 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into local government funding and financing is welcome, but it is concerning to see the Terms of Reference will constrain an objective assessment of all options,” says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “It is particularly disappointing that ‘asset recycling’ – the process of selling down public shareholding in one public asset in order to invest in another more valuable asset – has been precluded from the terms of reference.

    “Asset recycling is enabling Australia to respond faster and much more effectively to their growth challenge than New Zealand.

    “New South Wales alone will spend AU$14.7 billion on transport improvements this year compared to around $3 billion across New Zealand – twice what we are on a per capita basis. It has been able to do this by selling down nearly $50 billion of underperforming assets in the last five years and using the proceeds to deliver heavy rail, light rail and roading, as well as urban redevelopment, schools and health investment.  

    “With better services and fewer public funding constraints on development, the Aussies are addressing homelessness and deprivation whilst investing tens of billions in road and rail transport infrastructure.  

    “Research has shown the asset recycling programme in New South Wales has very high public support - 61 per cent, with only 9 per cent opposed - when people understand why the programme is in place and where the money is going.

    “High growth councils around New Zealand would provide a much better public service by selling down shareholdings in ports, airports or low performing assets and “recycling” the proceeds to invest in core transport and water.

    “In Auckland, partial or full sale of Watercare would enable the Council to release billions in capital to invest in storm water, floodwater and transport infrastructure and would allow the company to leverage its balance sheet to invest in water infrastructure to support growth.

    “The opportunity cost of having public money tied up in non-essential services is worse congestion and a prolonged housing crisis.

    “If, for some reason, New Zealand is different than Australia and if advice from the OECD, World Economic Forum and others on good capital management is misplaced, the Productivity Commission is best placed to make that call.

    “The same can be said for the rating of Crown and Maori land. It is extraordinary that the Crown considers councils to be core infrastructure providers, but will not pay them to deliver services to Government assets like schools nor even take advice on the issue.

    “It is encouraging that the Government has launched this Inquiry, but given the constrained terms of reference that the Productivity Commission has been given, the potential outcomes of the study have been compromised at the outset,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 28 Jun 2018 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s Policy Statement on Transport confirms record investment over the next decade, but with capital investment levels half what they are in Australia, ongoing congestion, housing unaffordability and constrained economic growth will continue,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The final GPS for Transport released today locks in record transport spending of $4 billion moving to $4.7 billion per annum over the next decade, supported by new fuel levies.

    “The funding certainty this provides to the New Zealand Transport Agency, councils and transport industry is welcome and it’s clear that the Government is doing as much as it feasibly can with existing transport tools.

    “But it’s not enough. In fact, it’s well short.

    “New South Wales has announced a A$14.7 billion transport capital programme for the 2018/19 financial year.

    “By comparison, just $2 billion - $3 billion of GPS spending this year will be focused on improving transport networks.

    “Even after top-ups from the consolidated account to pay for Auckland’s City Rail Link and council expenditure, New Zealand’s investment in transport improvements will be half what the New South Wales government alone is doing on a per capita basis.

    “This is why New Zealand’s cities are among the most congested for their size in the developed world and it is why we can’t unlock enough land to house our population.

    “It is also why nothing is going to change, in spite of record investment, until we change the way we plan, fund and deliver transport.

    “Asking road users to cover the cost of projects increasingly oriented towards urban development separates those funding improvements from those who will benefit – landowners.

    “Constraining investment to levels road users are prepared to tolerate holds back the economy and urban development.

    “We need to double investment if we are serious about tackling congestion, improving safety and delivering homes.

    “Projects with strong benefit-cost ratios and significant strategic benefits need to be accelerated.

    “Major transport projects need to be debt financed. It is not realistic to fund a long-term investment programme by an annual allocation from road user charges.

    “Debt should be repaid by beneficiaries – road users, property owners and the Government via GST, income and corporate taxes which grow with the economy.

    “A shift to road pricing would not only provide the mechanism to fund needed investment, it would also manage congestion much more effectively.

    “Record transport investment is a step in the right direction, but New Zealand remains a giant leap behind our competitors.

    “If we want to change our transport performance, we need to change our outdated and restrictive transport funding system,” Selwood says. 

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 14 Jun 2018 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE 

    “New Zealand’s urban growth system is broken and must be revised to incentivise cities to grow and city leaders must be given the flexibility and tools they need to succeed,” says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “We took 42 public and private sector infrastructure leaders to Portland, Denver, Dallas and Houston – four big, fast-growing cities facing the same challenges as New Zealand cities, but with different economic, social and environmental outcomes.  

    “The US cities may not be able to match New Zealand centres for liveability, but they do know how to grow. Homes are being built, roads and public transport are being delivered and homelessness is down by a third in the last decade.

    “The key to US success is an urban growth system which is incentivised to want growth and has the tools and flexibility to overcome challenges.

    “The metro areas of the US, including the constituents and governments, benefit from growth. Sales and income taxes complement property taxes. More homes, residents and investment means more revenue for local authorities. Federal and state agencies sweeten the deal with grants and funds to encourage performance.

    “America’s thin welfare net doubles the importance of successful urban performance – if cities don’t grow and succeed, homelessness, unemployment and social costs fall much more heavily on local institutions.

    “Cities are not only better incentivised, they have the ability to respond.

    “Different revenue streams provide flexibility of funding. Innovative financing is used to transfer the costs of infrastructure to beneficiaries who repay debt over the long term. Regional governments evolve to meet city-wide challenges, special purpose infrastructure districts fill resourcing gaps.

    “New Zealand’s urban growth system, by comparison, is poorly incentivised. Central government captures the tax benefits of growth, leaving councils reluctant to invest in costly upfront infrastructure.

    “Councils that try to grow have to rely on rates paid by those with homes in order to fund services for those without homes. Debt ceilings constrain finance and hard regulatory instruments become the preferred tool to manage growth.

    “Overdependence on urban boundaries and density restrictions has undermined competitive land markets, preventing affordable housing, and there are no price signals to ratepayers about the consequence of council policies.

    “Overall, the American system is far more collaborative, innovative, aspirational and effective at responding to growth.

    “We simply must revise our governance responsibilities and funding. It is not working having a multiplicity of small councils with limited capability manage limited funds for such an important task.

    “We must re-gear local governance so that local authorities benefit from growth and have the tools to respond. A review of local government funding and responsibilities should be launched as part of the review of planning statute and alongside the Tax Working Group.

    “In the meantime, central government has to intervene with grants and transfers, like the Provincial Growth Fund and city and regional deals which allocate funding to councils who support economic and urban growth.

    “Responsibility for financing costly growth infrastructure needs to shift away from ratepayers. Activities which provide a revenue stream, including water services and toll roads can be used to finance investment without compromising council borrowing costs. Crown Infrastructure Partners needs to have a wider scope to finance infrastructure delivery and rate future property owners.

    “If we combine these measures with emerging urban development authority legislation and get on with delivering attractive new cities and centres, like a satellite city in south Auckland, we can remove planning regulations and allow competitive land markets to deliver housing New Zealanders can afford," Selwood says.

    A full copy of the Infrastructure New Zealand report on findings from a delegation to the USA can be found here.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 18 May 2018 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    A panel of experts spoke to Mike Hosking about what the key sectors are expecting from this year's budget. Listen to Stephen's interview here.

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