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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  • 11 Oct 2018 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Lingering debate over the form of rapid transit to Auckland Airport reveals a lack of clarity about the role for light and heavy rail and this issue must be resolved when the business case is released,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Stephen Selwood.

    “The public is understandably confused about the purpose of the Dominion Rd light rail project and its role within the wider transport system. They are also confused about the potential for heavy rail connections to and from the airport.

    “This is a symptom of a wider strategic issue of how heavy is to support the future growth and development of Auckland given the significant investment in the Central Rail Link currently underway.

    “Under standard practice, we would normally first ask what issue we’re trying to address – congestion, urban regeneration or access to the airport? – and then we would decide what investments are required.

    “With the decision to proceed with light rail effectively made before a business case has been developed, best practice has been diluted but not the need to be clear about what we’re trying to achieve. 

    “Is Dominion Rd light rail designed to reduce congestion, support urban development or provide a rapid transit link to the airport? Is it all three or something different?

    “If the purpose is to improve access to the airport, then the business case should demonstrate that light rail better serves this objective than alternatives, including heavy rail.

    “If the purpose of the project is to reduce congestion, then business case analysis must demonstrate improved travel times for general traffic commensurate with the investment being made by road users.

    “Alternatively, if the purpose of Dominion Rd light rail is to unlock and enable urban development, then the business case must present a coordinated land use plan indicating the residential and commercial property opportunity linked to the project’s delivery. This should include the rezoning which is required and the timeframes for development.

    “Importantly, if the objective is urban development, and if congestion and other transport benefits are not improved, then funding should be primarily sourced from urban development, rather than the National Land Transport Fund.

    “Targeted rates, capital gains taxes and land acquisition via an urban development authority are all options which should be assessed.

    “A strong, transparent business case, clarifying why the project is being delivered, its costs, benefits and how it will be funded and delivered will address public confusion over the reason for light rail and resolve the question of light or heavy rail to the airport,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 08 Oct 2018 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Treasury’s consultation process on a new independent infrastructure body has come at an opportune time, with news that a major Chinese company has bid to build and operate the long awaited Penlink project highlighting the importance of an expert entity interfacing with the market and guiding procurement,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure NZ.

    “Penlink has sat on the books of both the Transport Agency and various Auckland councils for two decades now, and is planned to sit there another decade before anything happens.

    “This is despite the project demonstrating a very strong economic return and the local community indicating they will pay a toll if it means getting the road built.

    “Private sector investors and infrastructure companies have seen the opportunity and front-footed a solution, which is exactly what you want to happen when official processes get tied up.

    “We have already seen NZ Super bring forward an unsolicited proposal for light rail in Auckland and we are aware of several domestic and international investors looking for opportunities to invest in New Zealand infrastructure projects.

    “But it’s not clear in New Zealand who a company with an innovative infrastructure proposal should approach nor how their bid should be managed.

    “The result can be frustration, wasted time and reduced competitiveness in the marketplace.

    “With the establishment of an independent infrastructure body, the Government will create a market-facing expert entity with expertise in infrastructure procurement and investment planning.

    “It will be able to develop, for example, a clear set of guidelines for unsolicited bids, such as that received for Penlink, and advise responsible agencies and ministers on a transparent, fair and efficient process.

    “Consultation on the independent infrastructure entity is open until Friday October 26 and we encourage interested parties across industry to submit their thoughts,” Selwood says.


    Have your say

    Until 5.00 pm Friday, October 26, The Treasury is seeking submissions on the possible functions and features of a new independent infrastructure body.

    A short explanation of why a new independent infrastructure body is needed, and what it might do can be found here.

    To read the consultation document, and find out how to make a submission on what the new body should look like, go to www.infrastructure.govt.nz . Background papers are also available there to help inform your thinking. A Treasury media release is available here.

    Quality infrastructure planning and delivery is critical to New Zealand’s economic and social wellbeing. Have your say on this important issue until 5.00 pm 26 October 2018.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 20

  • 19 Sep 2018 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    New Zealand’s Women's Infrastructure Network (WIN) founder Sarah Lang was winner of the Chartered Accountants Australia and NZ Diversity category award at last night’s Women of Influence Awards in Auckland.

    “We are delighted that Sarah has been recognised for her outstanding leadership in the sector having established the Women’s Infrastructure Network in late 2016 and led its growth to seven chapters nationwide with over 1000 members today”, said Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

    The award also recognised the contribution that Sarah has made to establishing many Māori employment initiatives including the Iwi Business Consortium, the Māori Graduate Placement Programme, Ngati Whatua Iwi Industry Employment Programme and Ti Hiku Employment Initiatives. This work has seen the placement of over 200 Māori employees into jobs across Northland and Auckland. Sarah has also established the Regional Homelessness Taskforce, championing the rights of the homeless.

    “When I joined the infrastructure world seven years ago I thought I was one of only a few women in the industry”, Sarah says, “but I soon found out that actually there are thousands of women across the sector”.

    “While not so many are CEO or Board level yet, by and large women comprise senior partners, directors, engineers, and first line managers undertaking work that is vital to the success of the industry. We want to re-position the industry as a leader in diversity”, Sarah says.

    “WIN NZ is connected to the global WIN network, operating in Canada, the USA, UK and Australia”, says Chair, Margaret Devlin.

    “Not only do we seek to grow the visibility of women in the sector and increase the number of women in leadership roles, WIN provides amazing networking opportunities for women across the sector.

    The diversity of professions involved - from contracting to engineering, banking, insurance, public sector and legal, consulting and financial professions among others – provides immense opportunity for sharing knowledge and building a network of connected professionals.

    “Sarah took the vital step to not only set up the network but has led its development from strength to strength. It is fantastic that those efforts have been recognised by this award”, Devlin says.

    Infrastructure New Zealand Chair Patrick Brockie says “Diversity brings different ideas and perspectives to the industry which is essential to us delivering better outcomes. It is also key to building capability and capacity across the infrastructure sector and the long-term sustainability of the industry”.

    “Sarah has set the bar. We now look for WIN to continue to grow its influence and presence within industry management teams and around the board table.

    “Infrastructure New Zealand’s goal is to see continued material progress on greater diversity, whether at Board or executive management levels or on-site leading of delivering major infrastructure projects”, Selwood says. “We won't let up until that goal is achieved.”

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 31 Aug 2018 5:12 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The National Land Transport Programme announced today sees a significant shift in the allocation of road user charges and fuel taxes away from road users to public transport users and raises questions about the future of the state highway network,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

    “Many city dwellers will welcome the Government’s positive focus on public transport, walking and cycling. And while road users will be pleased with the focus on safety, they will be scratching their heads wondering where their Road User Charges (RUC) and Fuel Excise Duty (FED) payments are going.

    “State Highway capital expenditure is down $630m (18%) on the previous three years expenditure. This is a major concern noting that vehicle kilometres travelled on state highways is increasing rapidly – up one billion kilometres (5%) just last year.

    “Coupled with the Government’s Policy Statement for transport which sees state highway capital investment halved from a peak of $1.4 billion in 2018/19 to just $600m by 2025, this represents a major shift in transport funding away from road to public transport users.

    “If vehicle kilometres travelled on the state highway network continue to grow in the next decade as they have in the last decade (and all evidence suggests this will be the case) then we are likely to face a significant state highway infrastructure deficit in coming years.

    “Such a trend will increase the likelihood of another radical shift in transport prioritisation with the next change of government.

    “The good news is that local and regional road improvements are up in today’s announcement, as is road maintenance across state highways and local roads, all of which will be welcomed by road users especially in the provinces.

    “Expenditure on road safety promotion and demand management is up 79% and road policing up by 10% on previous years so transport users can expect to see a lot more advertising on media channels and police on the roads.

    “But the major gain is investment in public and rapid transit and walking and cycling which more than doubles from $1.2 billion expenditure on the last three years to $2.5 billion this time around.

    “It is good to see this investment happening, but much more needs to be done to capture value from public transport beneficiaries.

    “The Government’s focus on increased density and improved public transport will, perversely, increase the value of urban land, driving up the cost of housing and transport investment.

    “Price signals are required to ensure our transport system remains fundable and that the beneficiaries of policy pay their fair share.

    “It is clear that new funding and financing mechanisms are required to keep up with sorely needed investment in transport,”  Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021791209


  • 30 Aug 2018 12:02 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    A Beca-sponsored poll of infrastructure leaders at the recent Infrastructure New Zealand Building Nations Symposium indicates confidence is growing that New Zealand can meet its infrastructure challenges, but suggests there needs to be greater detail shared with industry and the community around plans to address Auckland’s infrastructure needs. Respondents also believe that there needs to be greater urgency from all parties to implement those plans.

    Over 700 industry leaders attended the Symposium and the Beca poll enabled delegates to provide real-time feedback on the key issues on the agenda.

    Three-quarters of respondents felt New Zealand’s infrastructure situation will improve over the next five years.

    Infrastructure NZ CEO Stephen Selwood said, “This high level of confidence reflects the Government’s announcement shortly before the poll that it will move forward with an independent infrastructure entity. The infrastructure body initiative was supported by almost 90 per cent of respondents. Concerns over weak procurement capability across the sector and uncertainty over the long term capital programme make the establishment of this new entity a high priority.

    “The Government’s signals that it will reform the water sector are also assisting industry confidence. Less than 5 per cent of polled respondents felt the water sector should remain in its current state, with almost four out of five infrastructure leaders supporting consolidation of water supply and wastewater into one or several large dedicated providers.

    “However, there remains significant sector concern over the ability of Auckland to meet the region’s two big challenges: housing and congestion.”

    Three-quarters of respondents felt Auckland could not meet its transport and housing affordability needs under the current plan and almost four out of five felt that the $28 billion Auckland Transport Alignment Programme (ATAP) would not be sufficient to meet growth.

    Rupert Hodson, Beca’s Northern Regional Manager, said, “Investment in light rail is a key component of ATAP and the results indicate that industry may need further information and engagement around the objectives and outcomes that light rail seeks to deliver. Light rail can be immensely valuable in supporting urban regeneration and intensification outcomes and accelerating transport mode shift through these corridors, which can deliver long term improvements in congestion, housing supply and affordability for Auckland.”

    Around 90 per cent of respondents thought light rail would have some degree of impact on improving congestion, but around half also thought it will make housing less affordable along the serviced corridors.

    Delegates identified the top three areas to address congestion as public transport investment, road pricing and intelligent transport systems.

    Delegates agreed that the existing Metropolitan Urban Limit in Auckland has largely failed to promote a quality, compact, accessible city, with 81% believing that it has had a zero to negative impact on congestion in the city, and 89% citing a zero to negative impact on housing affordability.

    “All in all, the polling suggests some positive changes are being made which gives confidence to the infrastructure industry that we can get on top of the big issues nationally, but further efforts to address Auckland’s transport and housing needs are required,” added Hodson.

    The full Beca polling results can be viewed here.


    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209 and Rupert Hodson on 027 292 0796


  • 30 Aug 2018 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    Read the article and listen to Stephen and Rupert's interview here.

  • 17 Aug 2018 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    HE Ms Wu Xi, China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, today announced that Infrastructure New Zealand will be leading a senior delegation to China, Hong Kong and Singapore in March 2019. 

    The key topics will be road pricing, new cities development, master planning, integrated urban development at scale and value capture. 

    "China has built up enormous capability in recent years in infrastructure technology, safety and sustainability," says Stephen Selwood chief executive of Infrastructure NZ.

    "Improvements have been made without compromising the speed of decision making or the ability of infrastructure delivery agencies to implement.

    "We are very interested to understand how they have been able to achieve this, while at the same time integrating across multiple infrastructure portfolios and aligning development aspirations with public services. 

    "Each of the three destinations has been far more successful than New Zealand in aligning transport investment with urban development, including capturing the value of development to fund major rapid transit improvements. 

    "Hong Kong’s MTR is famous for above station redevelopment and operates one of the only self-funding public transport systems in the world. 

    "Singapore’s infrastructure planning and investment programme is the global benchmark, and we are especially interested in their new road pricing initiative.

    "When operational, it will become the world’s first comprehensive road pricing network, allowing variable pricing to optimise traffic flows. 

    "In addition to understanding how infrastructure and development are aligned and delivered, the delegation will provide an excellent opportunity to strengthen business relations across the countries.

    "The delegation will take place over two weeks and be modular, allowing representatives to take part in either the Hong Kong-Singapore leg, or the China leg, or both. 

    "This will be our largest ever delegation and will complement recent trips to the USA, UK and Canada," Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 17 Aug 2018 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones’ confirmation that the Government will establish an independent infrastructure entity – an i-body – is very positive news and warmly received by industry,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure NZ.

    “The Minister today announced that a new entity would be created to provide expert advice, planning and strategy, support the delivery of major infrastructure projects across the country and act as the golden thread between the various pieces of work this Government is undertaking.

    “The Minister indicated the new entity will become a one-stop shop for investors, linking people to procuring entities and informing them about our regulatory and market settings.

    “This is a major step forward for the Government and a wider sector challenged by long term pipeline uncertainty and procurement capability.

    “The i-body will consolidate infrastructure expertise, creating a home for high calibre officials who can specialise in the procurement of highly complex public works.

    “We are particularly pleased that the Minister confirmed that the i-body will have independence and strategic capability, meaning it will not only assist in the delivery of infrastructure, but provide advice to the Government on key sector issues and help develop a whole-of-government project pipeline.

    “A long term sightline of what investments the Government intends to make, noting there will always be changes in priorities and needs, is critical for the sector to invest in skills and equipment.

    “At the Building Nations Symposium this morning, we heard from experts from the UK and Australia, two countries which have recently adopted and rapidly expanded the i-body approach.

    “The model has been very successful in these two countries at reducing waste, improving long term decision making and supporting a much healthier and more competitive industry.

    “We expect that over the medium term, the i-body will lead a sustained improvement in the skills and capacity of infrastructure professionals within not only Government, but the private sector too, as suppliers benefit from clearer direction, greater consistency and better risk allocation.

    “This is a real opportunity to use the Government’s scale to effect a true industry-wide transformation of the way we plan, fund, finance, deliver and operate critical services,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 17 Aug 2018 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "Major issues affecting the construction and wider infrastructure sector are the result of weak procurement capability across the board and strengthened government expertise and leadership is required to drive an overall lift in industry performance," says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood. 

    This is the overall conclusion from a new Infrastructure New Zealand-commissioned research report by Entwine into major project procurement.

    The report draws on in-depth feedback from leading infrastructure procurement experts across the public and private sectors and is supported by the Construction Strategy Group and Civil Contractors New Zealand.

    “Poor procurement invariably impacts on every aspect of a project and usually leads to poor quality outcomes and increased whole of life costs. The absence of a strong pipeline of work and the focus on lowest cost has had a massive negative impact on construction industry skills and capability. Improved procurement is the key to resolving these issues and needs to be addressed urgently,” says Civil Contractors CEO Peter Silcock. 

    "Top performing procurement agencies have specialised staff who manage a long and consistent pipeline of work with transparent, standardised processes but carefully selected models to optimise risk, maintain a competitive market and deliver maximum value from public investment.

    "It is clear we need a whole-of-system response to the way public agencies procure services from the private sector and incremental or one off changes to procurement processes will not be sufficient,” says Construction Strategy Group Chair Geoff Hunt.

    "What is clear from the research is that a huge amount of opportunity exists within the public sector procurement space. Value is created for New Zealanders during both the asset creation and the asset in use. Smart procurement is the key to maximising this value. This is not a public vs private zero sum game. Instead purposefully managed change can very much be a win-win for all parties,” says report author Leah Singer.

    Selwood says, "we've been guilty in New Zealand of forgetting that the purpose of public investment is exactly that – to invest – and we've prioritised cost cutting to the detriment of the bigger picture.

    "Fit for purpose has become less important than fit for budget, with the true price being higher long term cost and under-performing public services.

    "By following through on its intention to establish an independent specialist procurement agency – an "i-body" – the Government will be able to address the major risks confronting its large infrastructure programme and the wider industry. 

    "As the repository for procurement expertise nationally, the i-body will harbour and develop career professionals in procurement.

    "They can then provide advice and support to all public agencies, leading an immediate and rapid improvement in procurement capability across the entire public service, starting with our biggest, most complex and highest risk projects.

    "Combining this technical expertise with a national strategic function, including the preparation of a national project pipeline, will spread the benefit of the i-body across the wider industry.

    "A key finding in the report is that private sector procurement capability also needs some support so that the industry can better assess risk and position itself appropriately for the work ahead.

    "Lifting procurement expertise across New Zealand is an immediate priority given the huge investment required in coming years. This will help us to both maximise benefits and enable projects to be delivered more quickly and efficiently," Selwood says.

    ENDS

    To read the full report, please click here. 

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

  • 16 Aug 2018 10:57 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government’s Urban Growth Agenda tackles the key issues holding back development in New Zealand and warrants support across the political spectrum,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    At the Infrastructure New Zealand Building Nations Symposium this morning, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford restated the Government’s commitment to addressing housing affordability and supply challenges via the five pillars of the Urban Growth Agenda:

    1. Infrastructure funding and financing – to enable a more responsive supply of infrastructure and appropriate allocation of cost.
    2. Urban Planning – to allow cities to make room for growth, support quality built environment and enable strategic integrated planning. 
    3. Spatial planning to build a stronger partnership with local government as a means of developing integrated spatial planning.
    4. Transport pricing – to ensure the price of transport infrastructure promotes efficient use of the network.
    5. Legislative reform – to ensure that regulatory, institutional and funding settings are collectively supporting the UGA objectives.

    “This is a comprehensive programme and represents the first system-wide attempt to address the causes of the housing and wider urban development crisis.

    “The proposed changes are not inconsistent with National’s reform intentions when it was in government. It would be great to see cross party support for change to finally breakthrough the current stranglehold on effective planning, decision making and investment in New Zealand.

    “Successive legislation, principally the RMA (Resource Management Act 1991), the LGA (Local Government Act 2002) and the LTMA (Land Transport Management Act 2005), has disaggregated growth decision making, funding and delivery.

    “In places where we’ve had land, we’ve had no infrastructure. In places with infrastructure, we’ve had no zoning. In places with zoning, we’ve had no demand.

    “The Urban Growth Agenda knits together the key elements needed to turn a section of land into a new home or business, but only if it’s implemented in full and without delay.

    “There is strong industry support to tackle infrastructure funding and financing, and the use of off-balance sheet project financing vehicles now needs to be ramped up and rolled out.

    “Well signalled Government commitments to introduce road pricing and open up land for development are now overdue. These initiatives are critical to tackling congestion, addressing land banking, reintroducing scale to the development market and delivering affordable, accessible housing.

    “New Zealand cannot afford continued political stand-off on these important issues. Auckland alone is 50,000 homes short of what it needs to house its population and that number has increased 10 per cent in the last year.

    “The housing and infrastructure crisis will continue to get worse until a substantive change agenda is fully implemented.

    “To the extent that the reform programme may cross Parliamentary terms of government, bi-partisan support will be central to success,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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