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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  • 16 Feb 2018 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    Read the article and listen to Stephen's interview here

  • 21 Dec 2017 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "Waipa District Council’s rejection of a shared water services partnership with neighbouring Hamilton City demonstrates, once again, the need for government intervention in the funding, responsibilities and structure of domestic governance," says Stephen Selwood Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "No fewer than four independent expert analyses of water services in the Waikato have agreed that it is in the best interests of residents of Waipa District to combine their wastewater, water supply and stormwater services with Hamilton.

    "Yet at the political level, these clear, demonstrable and agreed benefits were insufficient to persuade the majority of Waipa councillors to agree to partner with their neighbours in the provision of water services.

    "Despite the example set by Wellington Water, which has demonstrated significant benefits resulting from a jointly owned management company for its five council owners in the Wellington region, this latest Waipa decision puts another nail in the coffin for shared service arrangements between councils.

    "The case for change in water service delivery at a national level was clearly demonstrated in Havelock North when 5000 people got sick from drinking contaminated water. The subsequent inquiry identified “widespread systemic failure among water suppliers to meet the high standards required for the supply of safe drinking water to the public”.

    "Yet, almost all evidence to date, including rejection of Local Government Commission proposals for consolidation in Northland, Wellington, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa, shows that significant change will not come from within the local government sector, no matter how beneficial.

    "Local Government New Zealand's Reputation Index gives local government leadership, performance and communication a score of 28/100.

    "Central government is having to constantly put workarounds in place to fix tourism infrastructure funding or growth investment financing. Auckland and other growth cities are 70,000 homes short of the number required for their populations, but they are not being built because there are not enough pipes and roads in the ground.

    "Major change is needed at a national, local and regional level.

    "Nation-wide functions should not be left to local government, including overall responsibility for environmental management and meeting the basic needs of New Zealanders for food, healthy water and shelter.

    "On the other hand the ability of local communities to build the identity and sense of community in their local areas must be strengthened.

    "And in between, there are decisions which need to be made which affect entire cities and their surrounding areas, including water, transport and economic development. These are regional in nature and require empowered regional decision making.

    "Effective institutions with the resources and mandate to deliver services at the level at which they impact communities are required.

    "If the new government is not prepared to lead fundamental reform itself, then a first principles review by an independent and appropriately resourced commission is the least it could do to identify solutions to longstanding deficiencies in New Zealand’s planning, funding and governance system," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 15 Dec 2017 4:17 PM | Anonymous

    Read Stephen Selwood's article for the NZ Herald here.

  • 15 Dec 2017 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    Read Stephen Selwood's article for the NZ Herald here.

  • 12 Dec 2017 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    Listen to Stephen Selwood discuss current water issues from 11:46 here and the end of the interview here.

  • 12 Dec 2017 1:54 PM | Anonymous

    Watch Stephen Selwood discuss water supply management with One News here

  • 06 Dec 2017 4:14 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry’s second report out today demonstrates the immediate need to establish a small number of large dedicated water service providers, funded by metered water and overseen by a competent regulator," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    "The Inquiry found a serious lack of compliance with drinking water standards across New Zealand, resulting in over 700,000 New Zealanders being exposed to unsafe drinking water.

    "Failures at all levels, from the legislation to governance and weak institutional capability, have contributed to a drinking water system which is dangerous, inefficient and unacceptable.

    "Total reform of the water sector is required and the Inquiry’s recommendations should be implemented in full.

    "Water suppliers across New Zealand are too small, under-resourced and conflicted in their provision of water services. Water regulation has been woefully weak, allowing institutional acceptance of service failure.

    "While this inquiry looked specifically at drinking water, the issues are systemic across the sector including waste and stormwater services.

    "A small number of benchmarked water service providers, delivering both water supply, waste and stormwater services should be established.

    "Larger entities will generate the economies of scale needed to achieve drinking water and environmental standards which are currently being ignored, often because of the cost impact to councils.

    "Funding of acceptable water services should be provided by metering and charging for drinking and wastewater use. Metering typically results in a 15 percent water demand reduction over the long term, with lower water consumption reducing the need for expensive new water sources, treatment and distribution networks.

    "The Ministry of Health needs to urgently implement the Inquiry’s short-term recommendations and an independent water regulator must be established as the first step towards major reform of water service governance and delivery in New Zealand.

    "It is encouraging to see the Government is moving quickly in response to the Inquiry’s hard-hitting findings.

    "It is the duty of every Government to protect the health and welfare of its people and the Inquiry’s sobering report demonstrates a severe failure of governance has been allowed to emerge in the provision of one of the most essential public services," Selwood says.


    ENDS

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


  • 28 Nov 2017 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    Read Stephen Selwood's article for the NZ Herald here.

  • 24 Nov 2017 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    "The Labour-led Government's five point programme to address New Zealand's urban growth challenges could establish this Government as a change agent to rival the first and fourth Labour governments, but more aggressive reform of planning, governance and funding of urban growth and infrastructure will be needed," says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    Transport and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford confirmed his plans for change last night at the Infrastructure New Zealand Annual General Meeting in Auckland.

    "The purpose of the urban growth agenda is to achieve competitive urban land markets, where supply meets demand and prices cover the cost of growth. Its five components to address New Zealand's chronic tangle of over-regulation, under-funding and fragmented planning are:

    1. Infrastructure funding and financing
    2. A pro-growth planning system
    3. Road pricing
    4. Spatial planning by central and local government
    5. Legislative reform of the Resource Management Act, Local Government Act and Land Transport Management Act.


    "The urban growth agenda signals a shift, not an end, in the way the Government leverages private capital to promote public policy. 

    "New Zealand's established and highly successful PPP model will still be considered for light rail and other transport projects, but the emphasis of this Government will clearly be on attracting private investment to support housing and wider urban development. 

    "The market will need to adjust, but the Government will also need to be aware that a competitive market cannot be sustained without a visible pipeline of potential projects.

    "It is doubtful that the identified transport programme will be sufficient to retain skills and investment in New Zealand without urgent action to fill the void created by cancellation of the planned $1.5 billion East West project in Auckland and various social housing initiatives.

    "The Government's second point in its programme, to create a pro-growth planning system, will be strongly welcomed by businesses frustrated by red-tape and institutionalised complexity built into our current system. 

    "That's going to require reform of the three key planning Acts, the RMA, LGA and LTMA. This is also on the Government's list of priorities, but Minister Twyford confirmed that the Government still has a preference to retaining the RMA.

    “Our very strong view is that combined effect of planning system failure, complex local government structures, tortuous decision making processes and inadequate funding are at the root of New Zealand’s housing and infrastructure crisis.

    "The desire to build off the past, rather than start afresh, is generally preferable. However, the "effects based" approach at the very heart of the RMA is the root cause of urban growth problems. It hands too much influence to objectors and under-represents the benefits of good planning and investment.

    "A more proactive planning regime, with robust national spatial planning and leadership, needs radically different institutions, processes and funding tools.  

    "We look forward to working with the Government to advance these, but are challenged to see how such transformation can take place within the confines of existing statutes and local government structures and funding. 

    "Finally, it is very encouraging to see the Government has recognised road pricing as a key ingredient to managing urban growth and optimising the transport system.  

    "However, if adding capacity to the road and public transport network is not part of every option to address need, we run the risk of establishing a tax on mobility.  

    "Higher and higher prices will be needed to suppress travel, ultimately delivering less public benefit. The purpose of road charges is to balance revenue with incentives to optimise travel, not suppress it. 

    "Viewed as a package, the Government's urban growth agenda is potentially revolutionary. If successfully implemented, Auckland and other growth cities will for the first time in a generation be able to build enough homes and infrastructure to support their population. 

    "All cities and towns in New Zealand will benefit from more flexibility and a reset in our national attitude to growth. This is long overdue," Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


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