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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  • 20 Feb 2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The announcement that the Government will establish the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga – to perform strategy and procurement functions and vest it with sufficient independence to have mana and influence is very strongly welcomed by the infrastructure industry,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The Commission will develop a broad consensus on long-term strategy, enable coordination of infrastructure planning and provide advice and best practice support to infrastructure initiatives.

    “That it will be an Autonomous Crown Entity and not a department of government is especially pleasing. Independence is vital to ensuring the Commission can form its own views on infrastructure matters and build political and public consensus on New Zealand’s infrastructure needs and investment priorities.

    “New Zealand has a track record of underinvestment, particularly in transport, water and social infrastructure.

    “Failures in planning, funding and delivering services in a timely way have led to congestion in our growing cities, unaffordable houses, water shortages, boil water notices, polluted water bodies, leaky schools and hospitals and weak resilience to climate change and natural hazards.

    “The Commission will lead thinking on these and other important public policy issues to help identify and coordinate solutions. It will provide transparency of the infrastructure pipeline and promote integration of infrastructure and development.

    “It will also assist in project delivery. We often take for granted how difficult it is to plan, fund, purchase and deliver a multi-billion project consisting of multiple contracts over many years in a way which produces a single, coherent and effective service.

    “Specialists at the Infrastructure Commission will provide councils, DHBs and other public agencies with the support and advice needed to engage the market, manage transparent and competitive tender processes and deliver best value solutions.

    “This is a fundamental and much needed change to the piecemeal way we have traditionally approached infrastructure analysis, investment and delivery in New Zealand.

    “Poor, changeable and unpredictable project sequencing and procurement is destabilising the industry. The result is underutilisation of highly skilled staff and the loss of critical skills overseas – the same skills desperately needed to address New Zealand’s agreed infrastructure backlog.

    “The Infrastructure Commission will not – and should not – be able to prevent changes in policy, but, by interfacing with the market and major clients, it will be able to influence policy through an understanding of broad sector needs and issues.

    “We are very pleased that a comprehensive solution is now being put in place,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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


  • 11 Feb 2019 7:00 PM | Anonymous

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

  • 11 Feb 2019 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The roading sector fears lay-offs and a downturn in major contracts, as big-budget projects inherited from the previous government wind up. 

    Read the article here.

  • 31 Jan 2019 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    See level rise is putting billions of dollars of NZ council infrastructure at risk - so a new report put out by LGNZ says.

    Listen to Stephen's interview here.

  • 28 Jan 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    With fundamental reform of our waste, drinking, and storm water on the cards - who will pay the billions and is it time for an aggregation of suppliers? Kathryn Ryan discusses with Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, Stephen Selwood of Infrastructure New Zealand and Karyn Sinclair Chair of the New Zealand Planning Institute.

    Listen to the interview here.

  • 26 Nov 2018 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The new Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will help the Government cut through red-tape to deliver urban regeneration in our largest cities, but to deliver affordable housing the Government must now turn its attention to greenfield development and wider policy reform,” says Stephen Selwood Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “On Saturday, the Government announced that it will consolidate Housing New Zealand, HLC and Kiwibuild into a new fit-for-purpose urban development authority with powers to zone and deliver new communities.

    “This initiative is desperately required to cut through an existing local government, planning and funding system which is no longer fit for purpose.

    “The Resource Management Act’s effects-based approach to planning and consenting infrastructure and development has not only failed the environment but tipped the balance of decision making too far in favour of existing land uses and prevented New Zealanders from access to housing.

    “Councils are restricted by the laws in which they work and by constraints on funding and borrowing. Their world view also reflects the boundaries of their territory and responsibilities.

    “HUDA will be in a better position to manage wider and more complex national challenges around growth management, homelessness and cumulative environmental impacts, to name but a few.

    “Like the Government’s new infrastructure body, HUDA will have the capacity to integrate across agencies to ensure we deliver not just individual services, but communities and public outcomes.

    “Minister Twyford has described HUDA as being a market facing agency. This is fundamental as commercial expertise in urban development and the ability to work with private land owners, developers and infrastructure providers will be key to success.

    “HUDA will be critical to light rail’s success in Auckland and Wellington. Without rapid intensification along light rail corridors, demand for services will be insufficient to justify investment.

    “However, HUDA will not be able to deliver a functional housing market on its own.

    “To deliver housing that is affordable on New Zealand wages and salaries, policies like Auckland’s Rural Urban Boundary must be changed to enable new development at scale in greenfield locations.

    “Rural land prices need to be leveraged to pay for infrastructure while delivering homes under $400,000, not captured by a dysfunctional approach to zoning and growth management which sees new sections alone cost more than this.

    “The Government’s announcement two weeks ago of the Milldale development enables new infrastructure to be funded and financed away from councils, thereby relieving existing residents from concerns that they are subsidising growth.

    “The next logical step is for the Government to work with Councils and the private sector to acquire greenfield land at scale in suitable locations, rezone it for development, deliver the infrastructure and capture the value uplift to deliver affordable houses.

    “Major developers with an eye on building new homes at scale and pace to crack the housing crisis will now be keenly awaiting access to competitive land at prices New Zealanders can afford, consistent with the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda.

    “With both brownfield and greenfield policy reform effected, our cities will be able to grow fairly, affordably and sustainably and the Government can in 2019 turn its attention to the ultimate solution to the problem – reforming New Zealand’s unworkable local government, infrastructure funding and planning system,” Selwood says.


    ENDS

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

  • 20 Nov 2018 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “Long overdue reform of the water sector has created the opportunity for a first principles discussion of what local government can and should do and with what resources, so it is very pleasing to see the Government kick-starting this process,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood.

    “Operating infrastructure networks is a technical activity demanding flexible use of capital and strong asset management capability. When networks cut across political, environmental or regulatory boundaries challenges are compounded. This is not the comparative strength of local government.

    “Under the current model we have allowed council financing constraints to undermine investment in clean water, political constraints to underfund growth services and technical constraints to under-deliver capital work programmes.

    “This is not a good outcome and the Government’s announcement that it will start the conversation with councils about what local government is really for should be fully endorsed across the political spectrum.

    “We need local government representing the needs and views of people and communities, something larger government bodies and corporations cannot do, and we need regional government to lead economic development and spatial planning.

    “Councils need the right tools which incentivise and enable them to act in the best interests of constituents, regions and wider New Zealand.

    “With Minister Parker’s recent announcement that discussion of planning statutes will begin in 2019, now is just the time to consider all functions of local government – city and regional planning, regulation, infrastructure and community needs.

    “What everyone can agree on is that we need local government. This conversation provides the opportunity to repurpose its role to improving community wellbeing and focusing on people rather than operating pipes in the ground,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

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

  • 13 Nov 2018 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The announcement today of a pilot scheme to bring forward infrastructure for housing is a significant milestone and establishes a new direction for growing New Zealand’s cities,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “The Government has announced that third party debt will be used to finance the roads and water infrastructure needed to unlock land for development in Milldale, north of Auckland.

    “Crown Infrastructure Partners will establish a ‘special purpose vehicle’ (SPV) to raise funds from investors, comprising itself, Fulton Hogan and the ACC, to enable the construction of bulk housing infrastructure which otherwise would be deferred.

    “Home owners will repay the SPV with an annual charge of between $650 and $1000 per annum.

    “This is a material additional cost to new homeowners, but the real benefit is that private finance for infrastructure will increase housing supply, making homes cheaper. Currently, lack of infrastructure means homes are not being built at the pace required and the cost of housing remains out of reach of many New Zealanders.

    “There should also be some combination of lower development charges or lower general rates to reflect the reduced dependency of Milldale homeowners on the Auckland Council. It is important that these homeowners are not asked to subsidise wider growth infrastructure across the region.

    “The real opportunity is expanding the model beyond Milldale and beyond Auckland to address the wider national housing crisis.  

    “If developers can access third party finance to bring forward bulk infrastructure investment, development can proceed at the pace and scale needed to deliver the productivity improvements critical to delivering enough homes to meet growth.

    “This approach is standard practice in the USA and enables that country to have one of the most flexible and responsive housing systems in the world.

    “There is no reason the approach will not work in New Zealand and, when combined with the promised reduction in planning restrictions, will overcome the greatest barrier to getting affordable homes delivered.

    “As long as general ratepayers carry the risk and cost of debt from new development there will be opposition to growth and investment in growth, which is in no one’s interest.

    “Legislation is needed to consolidate the model and allow it to be rolled out nationally.

    “This legislation will need to be clear on where the risk and responsibility for repaying debt sits. The Milldale initiative relies on debt, but for the model to be successful in meeting ongoing housing demand, developers will need to be able to partner with investors repaid on the basis of risk taken.

    “If risk is disproportionately allocated to developers, then the model will not lead to the increase in developable land required.

    “The sooner private capital can be injected into infrastructure for new development, the sooner growth cities like Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Queenstown can increase housing supply to meet demand,” Selwood says.

    ENDS

    For further information and comment contact Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209
  • 09 Nov 2018 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    MEDIA RELEASE

    “The Government should move quickly to develop an agreed roadmap with the opposition, councils and business to replace the conventional vehicle fleet with electric and renewable fuel vehicles,” says Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “A new report released on Thursday by sustainability consultants thinkstep finds that up to 88 per cent of New Zealand’s 2015 transport carbon emissions can be eliminated by 2050 by shifting the light vehicle fleet to electric and trucks, trains, boats and planes to hydrogen or biofuel.

    “With greater ride sharing, public and active transport, New Zealand can reduce emissions by a further 2 per cent, indicating that a top transport priority for the Government should be facilitating the shift from conventional to electric and other renewable fuel vehicles.

    “When electric vehicles become cheaper to purchase than many conventional cars, which industry commentators predict may happen in the early 2020s, electric cars will be better for the environment, higher performing, cheaper to buy and cheaper to operate.

    “This not only means that electric cars will be more competitive versus alternatives, it also means there could be an opportunity to replace the vehicle fleet substantially faster, in line with new findings that emissions need to be reduced sooner.

    “If the Government sits down with all the key stakeholders, we may be able to reach early agreement on when and how to accelerate the shift, supporting a much faster transition.

    “Private vehicle owners, car dealers and infrastructure owners, including fuel retailers and the electricity industry, need to know now what New Zealand’s transport energy programme is and how fast the country wants to move. Agreement on the path ahead must be bi-partisan and not owned by any one party or Government.

    “Increasing the pace of change will require significant improvement to our planning laws and regulations.

    “While future power supply will include local solar photovoltaic generation supported by battery storage, large scale wind, geothermal, solar and possibly tidal power generation will also be needed.

    “Projections undertaken by the Productivity Commission and Transpower show that electricity generation may need to increase by between 50% and 100% to achieve net zero carbon emissions from transport by 2050.

    The last time New Zealand achieved this sort of increase in electricity supply was before the RMA was enacted in 1991. Updating New Zealand’s planning laws will be fundamental to a dramatic ramp up in renewable energy supply.

    “The electricity market review underway will need to ensure that regulation and market settings support innovation and enable investment in renewable electricity supply.

    “The motor industry is gearing itself to respond and the energy sector is actively exploring biofuel and hydrogen energy systems – no one wants a situation where public regulatory and policy settings are holding back progress.

    “Road pricing policy needs to be aligned with the road map so that the huge benefit of energy efficient vehicles is realised without compromising the means to fund future transport infrastructure.

    “The opportunity to materially reduce carbon emissions while delivering a superior outcome for consumers at lower cost is a unique opportunity and one which should be maximised.

    “Confidence in long term energy and transport policy is central to success. A robust evidence base and pragmatic decision making is critical to generating the cross-party and cross-industry consensus needed to catalyse investment.

    “New technology is rapidly changing the policy and planning framework under which governments work. The Government needs to review whether our frameworks are sufficiently flexible and responsive to respond to new opportunities.

    “An agreed and evidence based roadmap to transitioning our conventional vehicle fleet to alternative fuels is an urgent Government priority,” Selwood says.

    A copy of the thinkstep white paper Creating a positive drive: Decarbonisation of New Zealand’s transport sector by 2050 is available here: https://www.thinkstep.com/content/creating-positive-drive-decarbonisation-new-zealands-transport-sector-2050


    ENDS

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

  • 25 Oct 2018 3:21 PM | Anonymous

    Stephen Selwood talks with Local Government Magazine about the recent Building Nations Symposium and the need for a deep rethink on the role, purpose and structure of local government. Read the full interview here.

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