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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  • 24 Jun 2019 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Last week’s announcement of a 10 percent year-on-year decline in Auckland’s April dwelling consents and fall in the total number of new homes completed in the last quarter reinforces the importance of urgently implementing the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The 1043 homes consented in April 2019 was down from 1163 in April 2018, according to recent data released by the Auckland Council’s Research and Evaluation Unit.

    “These numbers confirm strong anecdotal evidence coming from the infrastructure and development sector of a slowing in the market.

    “Of the 13,754 homes consented, three quarters were actually certified as being completed in the last year.

    “While up on the preceding rolling twelve months, the total number of certificates of completion dropped from 10,637 in December 2018 to 10,195 in April 2019.

    “This leaves the region shy of delivering the 14,000 homes per year it needs to stay on top of population growth.

    “The total number of dwellings delivered each year now needs to be closer to 20,000 for the next decade if the region is to build the almost 50,000 homes the council estimates Auckland is short.

    “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the market has now turned, just at the point at which consents were almost meeting demand for the first time in a decade.

    “Lack of competitively priced land supply means that it is almost impossible for housing to ever meet demand. Each time it comes close, house prices begin to flatten out and developers are forced to cut output or sell new homes below cost.

    “Supply drops while industry waits for the market to recover and more people get pushed onto the streets.

    “A particularly unfortunate side-effect is that many misinterpret slowing supply as a signal that there is no longer demand in the system.

    “That of course is untrue. There continues to be an enormous demand for homes priced less than $500,000.

    “Half of Auckland’s households earn less than $100,000 per annum. They need homes at $300,000-$500,000, not $600,000 plus. Last year in Auckland, only 5% of house sales were within this price bracket.

    “It’s not just Auckland. Tauranga is just months away from housing system failure. Queenstown cannot accommodate its workforce.

    “The Government’s Urban Growth Agenda is a key part of the solution. Releasing land and providing the tools to fund and finance infrastructure to unlock that land for housing is exactly what is required.

    “The Government can either do this in a targeted way to align developments with transport corridors, or give the market full flexibility but create risks around transport misalignment. If it moves now to secure partnerships with land owners around strategically located land near public transport corridors, it can both improve housing supply and reduce congestion.

    “Aggregating and rezoning rural land adjacent to rail and enabling infrastructure, residential and commercial development at scale will create value that can be passed on to homeowners in the form of affordable house prices.

    “But acting now is imperative before the market softens further and builders pack up tools and move to Australia.

    “The speed at which the Urban Growth Agenda is being implemented is a growing concern. This is the Government’s year of delivery and if it waits any longer before unlocking affordable land supply there is a very high likelihood in a return to rapid house price inflation, and growing homelessness.

    “It is urgent that the Government acts now. The policies are there. They need to be implemented,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 07 Jun 2019 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Infrastructure NZ is delighted to acknowledge the growing number of member organisations nominated as finalists for the 2019 Diversity Awards NZ™, demonstrating the increasing importance the infrastructure sector is placing on diversity and inclusion to help build a future focused industry.

    Given the widely publicised capacity constraints in the infrastructure sector, it is no surprise that a shortage of skills tops the list of the most critical challenges facing the industry. To address this challenge and attract a workforce fit for the future, “the infrastructure industry needs to be seen as a welcoming place that is diverse and inclusive, valuing wellbeing, innovation and career progression”, says Stephen Selwood, CEO Infrastructure NZ. “Entering the Diversity Awards is a bold move and demonstrates a public commitment to driving change in workplace cultures; which research demonstrates, is rewarded by enhanced business performance and employee engagement.”

    The awards, run by Diversity Works New Zealand, are in their 22nd year and celebrate best practice in workplace diversity and inclusion. Judging convenor Neil Porteous says this year the judges chose initiatives that were sustainable and offered long-term benefits, rather than entries based on one-off events. The entries also highlighted the importance of leadership in the diversity and inclusion space, Porteous says. “The panel found the Walk the Talk category difficult to judge as there are so many people standing up and influencing the workplace over and above their job descriptions.”

    This year, Infrastructure NZ members Downer NZ and HSBC NZ were nominated as finalists in the Cultural Celebration Category, where they were commended for their responses to cultural and ethnic engagement in the workplace;

    Vector Ltd was nominated as a finalist in the Diversability Category, which is designed to celebrate innovate responses to positive employment opportunities for people with disabilities;

    Spark was nominated as a finalist in the Emerging Diversity and Inclusion Category which honours a diversity and inclusion initiative that is less than two years old;

    Kensington Swan and Vector Ltd  were nominated as finalists in the Empowerment Category which celebrates innovative responses to empowering women in the workplace;

    GHD was nominated as a finalist in the Positive Inclusion Category, for their innovative response to inclusivity of the LGBTQI community in the workforce:

    Downer NZ and GHD were nominated as finalists in the Tomorrow’s Workforce Category, which celebrates innovative responses to a changing workforce demographic

    Glen Cornelius from Harrison Grierson and Shane Morgan from Watercare Services were nominated as finalists in the Walk the Talk Category, which celebrates leaders who exemplify excellence in promoting and managing a diverse workforce.

    Infrastructure NZ also acknowledges the success of industry association partners Engineering NZ, who were nominated as finalists for the Emerging Diversity and Inclusion Category for the transformational work they are leading across the industry.

    As a member of DiversityWorks, Infrastructure NZ is a strong advocate for member organisations developing diverse and inclusive workplaces by publicising clear targets and metrics on diversity, prioritising action and reporting externally to stakeholders. “We want the infrastructure sector to be the industry of choice”, says Selwood “and the home of the best and brightest minds.”

    Infrastructure NZ congratulates all finalists and wishes them well for the Gala Dinner at the Cordis in Auckland on Wednesday, 28 August, where the winners will be announced.

    ENDS

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


  • 16 May 2019 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Agreement on a 20 year long term transport plan for Wellington to create a liveable, walkable CBD connected by rapid transit looks promising, but needs to be further developed and accelerated ,” says Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Commitment by the Government and the Wellington councils to a long term plan is a milestone in itself. The plan is attractive, but it’s not clear from the information provided today when or even if the preferred programme will actually “Get Wellington Moving”.

    “The partnership between the Government, Wellington city and Wellington regional councils commits some $6.4 billion over the next twenty years and will include the delivery of mass transit from Wellington railway station to the airport.

    “There’s no stronger case for mass transit in New Zealand than Wellington’s CBD where up to 45% of the region’s jobs are located. To finally have certainty that a solution will be delivered is extremely positive.

    “Priority must now go to confirming the preferred solution and delivery pathway, as well as revising district plan provisions to enable integrated construction and redevelopment of the corridor.

    “Every effort should be made to deliver mass transit within a decade, not beyond, and ensure that as much of Wellington’s employment and residential growth is catered for by the investment as possible.

    “Wellington can follow international best practice and link rezoning and redevelopment benefits to project funding.

    However, provision of new road capacity through the Terrace tunnel to the inner city bypass and Mt Victoria has been dropped and rapid transit to the airport is not expected to be in place until after 2029, according to the plan.

    “This begs the question - will traffic congestion between the airport and the rest of Wellington be reduced and overall mobility improved? Modelling would normally be produced for an initiative of this size demonstrating the projected impacts on traffic demand and movement.

    “The funding package also raises equity issues. If benefits from the programme are largely urban development and liveability-related, and available evidence suggests that they are, using the over-allocated National Land Transport Fund to pay for these improvements means road investment in Wellington or other projects around New Zealand will have to be deferred.

    “By far the biggest benefits are related to health, liveability and economic productivity. These are important priorities. But if that’s where the benefits lie, shouldn’t that be where the funding comes from, rather than road users?

    “A considerable amount of effort and extensive public consultation has gone into the development of the plan by the region.

    “While we celebrate the positive steps towards its implementation today, it is disappointing that the full transport package, including the roading solutions, have not been included and we desperately need to accelerate the programme to deliver the rapid transit solution sooner rather than later,” Selwood says.


    ENDS

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

  • 09 May 2019 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “A new infrastructure pipeline tool launched today is a positive step towards lifting the productivity of the infrastructure sector,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Stephen Selwood.

    The NZ Treasury launched the first iteration of a national infrastructure project pipeline, detailing 174 projects with an estimated value of $6.1 billion. It can be accessed here.

    The prototype, developed by the Treasury’s Infrastructure Transactions Unit, presents data from five capital-intensive agencies – the Department of Corrections, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the ministries of Education and Health and the New Zealand Defence Force.

    It allows users to filter data using a range of variables, including sector, agency, region, start date and value range, and provides a CSV file to download for further data interrogation.

    The prototype is expected to be followed by several further iterations in the lead-up to the establishment of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, later this year. 

    Over time, the aim is that all central government agencies, as well as local government agencies and many private sector projects will be included in the pipeline.

    “The new tool is extremely welcome,” Selwood says.

    “Certainty of pipeline underpins investment in training, capital equipment and capacity building across the sector, as well as being key to attracting domestic and foreign direct investment.

    “New Zealand has had a traditional construction sector malaise due to boom-bust cycles. This promotes the short-term subcontracting model where firms hold costs to the minimum when the market is slow, under-invest in training, technology and equipment and rely on the subcontracting sector to bring in additional skills when needed.

    "A detailed schedule of what projects will be released, their value and sequencing to market is at the heart of the information that is required to attract investment and deliver the productivity improvements needed to meet infrastructure demand.

    “Consolidating information on the five capital-intensive agencies in one place is a useful start. Data on total volumes, project dollar value, procurement agency and region are all of interest.

    "However, functionality which enables suppliers to aggregate projects and project values by location, sector and sequencing will be desirable in future iterations.

    “Ideally, the pipeline will identify changes over time in investment levels and will include anticipated procurement methodology – infrastructure investors also need an indication of future opportunities.

    “Most of all, the credibility of the pipeline needs to be backed by a serious commitment to projects actually being funded and brought to market within the stated timeline.

    “While some changes in priorities will be expected, for industry to have confidence to invest, there must be confidence in authorities to deliver," Selwood said.


    ENDS

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

  • 06 May 2019 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The PwC Competitive Cities report released today underlines the urgent need for the Government to deliver affordable housing and efficient transport systems in our growing cities,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

    “PwC compared the performance of 11 Australasian growth cities over the last decade and found that households in successfully growing Australian cities have enjoyed significant improvements in discretionary income, relative to New Zealand.

    “Discretionary income is the money left over after tax and spending on housing, transport and other essentials. It provides an insight into the quality of life in each city.

    “Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide households each saw increases of between $300 and $400 per week over the ten years from 2008-2018.

    “New Zealand’s top performing city, Wellington, saw median household discretionary income increase by $137 per week, or around one-third that of Perth.

    “Discretionary incomes in Hamilton, Tauranga and Queenstown increased by around $60-$70 per week, or one-fifth that of Australia’s more successful cities.

    “Even Christchurch, which experienced a devastating series of earthquakes in the assessed period, saw discretionary income increase by $124 a week.

    “But Auckland’s performance is of serious concern. Unlike the other ten cities analysed, discretionary incomes in Auckland actually fell. The median Auckland household now has $96 less in their pocket at the end of each week than they did ten years ago.

    “An additional $5000 a year would make an enormous difference for thousands of households who are struggling to make ends meet.

    “Auckland was the only city to experience both increasing costs and flat income growth. Sydney’s equivalent growth in the cost of living was offset by rising real incomes. Weaker income growth in Tauranga, Queenstown, Hamilton and Melbourne, on the other hand, was ameliorated by smaller growth in the cost of living.

    “The reason for New Zealand’s weaker performance is not explained by Australia’s higher economic and therefore income growth.

    “It is in the cost of living that we have struggled.

    “High urban land prices have increased the amount households and businesses must spend on accommodation and rent. In addition, increasing congestion combined with higher transport taxes and fares have pushed up travel costs, not only for households, but for the producers and sellers of goods and services thereby making our economy less competitive.

    “New Zealand’s failure to manage growth is seeing the standard of living fall further and further behind Australia’s attractive second tier cities.

    “The Government’s well-being budget, urban growth agenda and plans for fundamental review of our planning laws and local government structure and funding have the potential to address systemic problems across New Zealand. 

    “Bi-partisan political support will be needed to enact major reform of our deficient planning, governance and funding system which is the root cause of the problems we are facing.

    Meanwhile, decisive action is now required to address immediate growth pressures.

    “Increasing the supply of land is one critical response. Urban land must be made more affordable in sufficient quantities to attract investment and enable scale.

    “The other critical element is servicing that land with infrastructure so that homes and businesses can be delivered. Plans to enable private financing of infrastructure for housing development need to be accelerated.

    “A step change in the supply of serviced land is urgently needed. With the construction sector operating at close to capacity, productivity improvements are the only real option to deliver the infrastructure and homes New Zealand needs.

    “Clarity of the project pipeline, policy certainty and development at scale are the three essential elements to lifting construction sector productivity and encouraging investment in capital, skills and expertise in New Zealand and from overseas.

    “There really is no time to waste. New Zealand households are already paying $200 per week more than households in Perth to cover the inflated cost of housing. Without urgent action we risk another brain drain simply because our housing markets do not function.

    “New Zealand can materially and significantly lift real incomes, reduce the need for Government transfers and enhance liveability by resolving the growth crisis. This is the Budget where things must start to happen,” Selwood says.

    A link to the PwC report Competitive Cities: A Decade of Shifting Fortunes can be found here.

    ENDS

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

  • 30 Apr 2019 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “While discussion around how best New Zealand can improve its comparatively poor road safety performance is needed, it is essential that policy changes address the principal drivers of declining performance if we are to have any hope of turning the road toll around,“ says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure NZ.

    “New Zealand’s road safety performance, as measured by road deaths, steadily improved from the 1980s right through until 2013. The improvement was significant, with some 12,300 lives between 1990 to 2012 ‘saved’ due to the reduction in annual road deaths over these 22 years.

    “Analysis from Infometrics undertaken that year found that 10,000 of these ‘saved lives’ could be explained by three factors:

    1. Improvements in vehicles, including better crash performance and fewer motorbikes (45 percent);
    2. Improvements in infrastructure, including more and better roads (19 percent); and
    3. Improvements in driver behaviour resulting from things like breath testing, advertising and speed monitoring (36 percent).

    “However, from 2013, our road toll began to turn and after several decades of improvement more people started dying each year.

    “In 2017, the Ministry of Transport contracted Deloitte Access Economics to investigate why safety had started to deteriorate. Their report found no one factor responsible, but that increasing vehicle kilometres travelled (VKTs) and a growth in motorbike registrations primarily explained fluctuations in New Zealand’s road trauma.

    “In other words, there is yet to be strong evidence to show a change in driver behaviour is behind the reversal in performance and that, while initiatives including lower driving speeds and stricter monitoring are likely to have some impact, they will not address the root cause.

    “If we really want to lower the road toll we need to look at the volume of traffic (vehicle kilometres travelled, or VKTs) on New Zealand roads and whether these roads adequately provide for all users.

    “The amount driven has increased substantially in recent years. Over a billion kilometres extra were travelled on our roads in 2017 versus 2016 – an increase of 5 per cent in just one year. We’re driving 13.3 per cent more than we did a decade ago.

    “In the same ten year period, the length of sealed and unsealed road increased by 2 per cent.

    “Many more vehicle kilometres travelled on roughly the same amount of road increases risk taking. Deloitte found that over the short term a 1 percent increase in VKTs is associated with a 2.5 percent increase in crashes.

    “More vehicles, particularly light commercial vehicles making deliveries in the Amazon-age, are using roads not designed for such a high volume of traffic. Drivers are taking risks to pull out of driveways and intersections, resulting in more accidents.

    “Adding to the challenge, growing focus on active transport has increased the number of vulnerable road users, each competing for the same under-funded roading resource, resulting in higher casualties.

    “A priority for turning around New Zealand’s road toll must be to ensure investment in our road system is keeping pace with growth in traffic volumes.

    “The current funding model requires fuel charges to cover the majority of transport spending, from walking and cycling to public transport, as well as our road network.

    “Additionally, we expect investment in roads and rail to improve competitiveness, grow the economy, unlock land for housing, improve environmental outcomes and provide access to isolated communities.

    “The system cannot cope. A complete overhaul of how and why we fund transport is required, not only to improve safety but to progress much broader economic, social and environmental objectives,” Selwood says.

    A  copy of the Deloitte report Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the New Zealand Road Toll can be found here.

    A copy of the Infometrics report Econometric Analysis of the Downward Trend in Road Fatalities since 1990 can be found here.

    ENDS

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


  • 16 Apr 2019 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Read Stephen Selwood's views on Auckland's Watercare taking over water services for a big chunk of the Waikato here.

  • 14 Apr 2019 12:30 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Public and private collaboration on the Construction Sector Accord and bi-partisan support for the establishment of the Infrastructure Commission will deliver major benefits for infrastructure and construction outcomes if cooperation can be sustained,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood.

    “The Construction Sector Accord announced today aims to transform the way the government and the construction industry work together and that transformation can’t come soon enough.

    “Uncertainty, skills shortages, injuries and contracting issues are making the construction sector a less attractive, productive and effective part of the economy. That’s bad for everyone, not least of all the Government because of the direct role construction plays in delivering public services.  

    “The Accord signals recognition that clients have a major impact on the way the industry behaves. What everyone wants is a healthy construction industry which competes across itself to deliver value, rather than competing with its clients.

    “That the Accord has been signed in the same week that legislation to establish the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga (NZIC), attracted support from all political parties is especially pleasing.

    “The NZIC will provide independent advice to the Government on infrastructure strategy and provide procurement support. It will develop a long awaited pipeline of public works which will give the industry greater clarity over future infrastructure programmes, priorities and investments.

    “This forward work programme is essential to providing the market with the confidence to invest in the skills, systems and equipment which are desperately required to improve New Zealand’s construction productivity.

    “But it must have bi-partisan support to succeed. New Zealand’s thee-year election cycle is too short for any one Government to reshape infrastructure policy.

    “There needs to be broader understanding and agreement over the long term opportunities and challenges so that, even if projects change in the short term, we as a country do not lose sight of the bigger picture.

    “We strongly commend the NZIC process to date which has enabled all political leaders to work together. The priority now is to sustain an open, transparent and collaborative process to finalise legislation and establish a respected, capable and independent infrastructure body,” Selwood says. 

    ENDS

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

  • 11 Apr 2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Legislation to establish the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga (the Commission) as an autonomous Crown entity, with the purpose of coordinating, developing, and promoting an approach to infrastructure that encourages infrastructure, and services that result from the infrastructure, that improve the well-being of New Zealanders is open for public feedback until May 17.

    Reading Video 1 Link
    Reading Video 2 Link
    Reading Video 3 Link
    Reading Video 4 Link

  • 08 Mar 2019 3:47 PM | Anonymous
    CEO Stephen Selwood discusses the Roads vs Public Transport debate. Read the article here.
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