Infrastructure new Zealand News & MEDIA RELEASES

Keep up to date with the latest infrastructure developments in New Zealand.

  • 08 Jul 2020 2:08 PM | Deleted user


    “The Government’s long-awaited funding boost and water reform agenda is New Zealand’s best chance to create a high performing water sector for New Zealanders,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.

    “The Government has today announced it will provide $761 million of investment to local councils who opt-in to the Government’s wider reform programme.

    “The reforms are required because over one million Kiwis do not have access to clean drinking water today, our wastewater systems are degrading the environment and our inability to deliver water services ahead of demand has been a critical handbrake on the release of land for housing.

    “We are pleased to see that central government is using financial incentives to effect this change, and believe that funding, accountability and risk-sharing mechanisms that reward local government for alignment with central government goals will be far more effective than the ‘stick’ of additional regulation on already stretched local resources.

    “Where we all really need to get to is a small number of publicly-owned specialised water service providers with the scale and capacity to plan, fund, finance and operate increasingly complex water systems.

    “Establishing these new regional public water providers as independent entities off individual council balance sheets, will unlock major new water investment needed to meet basic drinking, waste and stormwater standards.

    “Debt limits on similar international water companies are around six times revenue, compared to current council restraints equivalent to three times revenue.

    “That’s an additional $4.5 billion of investment in new treatment plants, pipes and other critical infrastructure to add to the Government’s $761 million injection, if the Government’s reform process can be realised.

    “If reforms can be accelerated, this investment will provide a major economic boost across all parts of New Zealand at the same time as improving public and environmental health.

    “As we continue progress towards a modern world class water system, economic regulation will be needed in addition to the Government’s new water quality regulator Taumata Arowai.

    “Economic regulation will monitor water charges to compare performance across the country and ensure water entities meet standards, affordably and without gold plating services.

    “The form of economic regulation of water will need to be broadened to explicitly address the social, cultural and environmental importance of water to New Zealanders.

    “The twin guardians of economic regulation, on one hand, and environmental and drinking water quality regulation, on the other, will provide Kiwis with clear benchmarking of quality outcomes from these water companies, enabling consumers to understand the value they gain from their payments to water companies.

    “When it underwent its reform process two decades ago, Scottish Water was able to double its capital expenditure and its customer satisfaction, while lowering water rates by 40% over a decade and a half of reform.

    “This is what we can achieve in New Zealand.

    “The Government’s announcement today is a very important step to creating a complete water system covering urban and rural, fresh and grey water resources, helping to sustain and improve one of our most important assets,” says Blair.


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 01 Jul 2020 1:19 PM | Deleted user


    “Today’s announcement that the bulk of the $3 billion shovel ready infrastructure fund has been finalised is welcome, but to avoid major lay-offs in the engineering, design, consulting and construction sectors, projects must be urgently brought to market,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “Ministers Robertson and Jones announced today that $2.6 billion of the $3 billion shovel ready fund has been allocated to 150 projects, with $400m still to be allocated.

    “The spend is grouped into four main sectors, comprising $708m spent on transport, $670m on community and social development, $464m on housing and urban development, and $460m on environmental projects.

    “Infrastructure market participants up and down the country will be pleased that the Government has announced this next step.

    “However, for employers hurt by the sudden drop-off in local government and private sector investment, today’s announcement may not give them the certainty needed to retain underutilised staff.

    “In the 6 weeks since the Infrastructure Reference Group provided their list of 800 projects, a significant gap has emerged in the infrastructure forward works programme.

    “Civil Contractors NZ and the Association of Consulting Engineers NZ have estimated that engineering and construction job losses could hit 10,000 without money rapidly flowing into projects and programmes of deliverable work.

    “The fundamental challenge still facing the industry is the lack of clearly defined projects and a timeline for when they will be brought to market.

    “Just 12 projects were signalled today and details of when they would be tendered or how have not been released.

    “A survey conducted by Infrastructure NZ in March showed that few employers can afford to wait 12 months on the basis of future spending promises.

    “Will we use accelerated delivery models to rapidly move from announcements to money flowing into actual projects which put people to work?

     “The industry strongly supports government infrastructure stimulus efforts, but urgently needs more detail on the projects and to proceed at pace,” says Blair.



    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 24 Jun 2020 1:03 PM | Deleted user


    “The Government’s decision to end the twin track light rail process provides some clarity, but questions still remain about process, problem definition, outcomes and how now Auckland will meet its transport and housing needs,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.

    “The Government has been running a process to determine whether a consortium, which includes the NZ Super Fund, or the New Zealand Transport Agency should procure light rail between the Auckland CBD and airport.

    “Confirmation that coalition partners have been unable to agree a way forward means that officials and the market can now move forward with the next stage of preparation.

    “However, many questions remain unanswered, including, if two proposals were received which both achieved the objectives of the project, why was neither able to proceed? Will the next iteration suffer the same fate?

    “A risk emerges that international infrastructure expertise views New Zealand as unattractive and expensive, an issue which could undermine the country’s COVID recovery.

    “It will now be very important for government to learn from the process, including how best to managed unsolicited bids, engage the sector on complex projects and manage intellectual property concerns.

    “Light rail was proposed to address access, congestion, housing and urban regeneration objectives that now are left without a clear response.

    “Design, construction and other infrastructure sub-sectors were also anticipating major work related to the project in the short-medium term.

    “A significant transport and housing investment programme is now required to fill the gap left by light rail and by Auckland Council funding pressures.

    “An immediate priority must be to confirm the infrastructure pipeline, not just to protect employment but also to address historic underinvestment and accommodate rapid population growth from returning Kiwis,” says Blair.


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 16 Jun 2020 4:40 PM | Deleted user


    “The Simpson Review’s proposal to restructure the healthcare system should be aligned with other reforms to enable a coordinated approach to public service governance, planning, funding and delivery,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair. 

    “The Health and Disability System Review chaired by Heather Simpson found that while New Zealand continues to have a good public health system internationally, it was now under serious stress. 

    “This finding is supported by analysis released last week that found an average of $1.4 billion per annum of capital investment in healthcare would be required over the next decade. This is around three times what DHBs spent in the past decade and illustrates just how large the backlog is in one aspect of health service delivery. 

    “It is not clear from this report how additional health operating and capital expenditure needs will be met. True innovation in service delivery will be required to bring in partners, adopt tele-health, and leverage iwi and third sector providers. 

    “The Simpson Review comes at the same time as the Government is reviewing water services and the planning system, as well as investigating electricity prices, port infrastructure and is considering support to local government through the COVID-19 crisis. 

    “Throw in known and severe issues in transport and housing, plus $136 billion worth of demand for ‘shovel-ready’ projects, and it is very clear that the public purse is highly stretched and a major rethink of domestic public service provision is required.  

    “Who should deliver public services, who should fund them and how do we get the range of public service providers working together collaboratively and coherently? 
    “Demand for health services often sits at the end of a very long chain of public policy decisions in transport, water, housing, education, welfare, justice and other sectors.  

    “We need alignment in the way decisions across these sectors are made, certainty of investment and the ability for both national and local priorities to be represented.  

    “There is no such alignment currently and it is undermining our ability to plan spatially, invest to meet growth and recognise when things are going wrong.

    “There are over twelve different interpretations of what constitutes a region in New Zealand for the purposes of administering public services, in addition to the existing 20 DHB areas. (Click here to see a map from the McGuinness Institute). Each has its own boundaries, decision making processes and funding streams.  

    “More important than a reduction in the number of DHB areas, as per the Simpson report, is regions with agreed governance, investment, funding, partnership and planning arrangements across transport, health, education and other public services.  

    “That would enable delivery of regional spatial plans. We could then align health investments with those in transport and other sectors based around improving public outcomes, rather than minimising the fiscal cost of each service within each silo.  

    “That is what we need to get on top of simultaneous crises across almost all of our key public services.  

    “But it can’t happen if the Simpson report’s findings are progressed independent of wider reform initiatives underway.  

    “New Zealand needs a much more fundamental discussion around who makes decisions for public services, where the money comes from and who is held to account if things go wrong,” Blair says.  

    A copy of Infrastructure New Zealand’s Building Regions Report can be found


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 10 Jun 2020 4:13 PM | Deleted user


    “Today’s national assessment of our health assets shows that our health infrastructure is on life support and points to systemic weaknesses in the ways we plan, fund, and deliver our social infrastructure,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “Today, the Ministry of Health released its report of the National Asset Management Programme for district health boards (DHBs).

    “We commend the Government and the Ministry of Health for commissioning and publishing this vital and confronting work. For far too long, there has been poor transparency on the true condition of New Zealand hospitals.

    “The report found that our hospitals are old, with significant infrastructure deficiencies, and are technologically behind the times.

    “DHBs estimate that, though our hospitals have a total replacement value of $24 billion, they will need $14 billion in capital investment to bring them up to standard over the next decade, showing just how much work is needed. 

    “The $14 billion of investment required is a major increase from the $5.5 billion estimated a decade ago and will likely rise further the longer we delay.

    “Pleasingly, $750 million in capital investment was committed in Budget 2020. This is a significant step forward but it only represents half of what is required every year for the next ten years.

    “A ten-year funding commitment from Budget 2021 will be required.

    “This will not only demonstrate to the public that the Government is committed to resolving severe health infrastructure issues, but will give the infrastructure sector time and confidence to scale up for the largest health capital investment in decades.

    “It couldn’t have come at a better time. The vertical construction sector will soften markedly through 2021 as existing projects are completed and private investment remains muted.

    “Government now has an opportunity to build through the dip, utilising available resources and improving the quality of life-saving infrastructure.

    “If the Government is unable to commit funding directly, there is significant private capital (including quasi-public entities like NZ Super and ACC) looking for opportunities and a range of models are available to help Government manage cashflow and meet essential service demand.

    “Reform of our health sector should also be investigated.

    “Evidence that New Zealand’s provision of ICU beds is far below comparable countries  and ongoing DHB financial pressures suggest our model may no longer be fit for purpose.  

    “Health spending should not be ‘the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’.

    “Integrated  planning and funding of high-quality housing, water, transport and social infrastructure can provide highly effective ‘primary care’ intervention, and this should be prioritised as well to improve holistic health outcomes for Kiwis.

    “Our Government should be setting ambitious outcomes for the health of kiwis  – we look forward to transformational reform such as that recommended by the Health & Disability System Review,” says Blair.


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 08 Jun 2020 3:35 PM | Deleted user


    “New Zealand's move to Alert Level 1 means the infrastructure industry’s largest annual event, the Building Nations Symposium, is now confirmed for 14-15 October at Trusts Arena, West Auckland,” says Paul Blair, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “With the $12 billion upgrade programme, $3 billion shovel-ready stimulus and another $20 billion of public investment available, this will be one of the most highly-anticipated Building Nations events ever.

    “Closely following the election, the Government’s investment agenda, water, transport, housing and the transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy will be among the priority topics for discussion.

    “Last year’s Symposium in Rotorua hosted over 720 attendees and generated over $2 million dollars for the local economy.

    “Building Nations is the premier infrastructure event where infrastructure leaders and experts go to hear the best and latest thinking from Ministers, global experts, and public and private sector decision-makers.

    “Buildings Nations has been recognised for its approach to sustainability and is a finalist for 4 NZEA 2019 Event Awards this year, including Best Corporate Event, Best Established Event Professional, Best Local Government Event and Best International Event.

    “Registrations will open shortly and we look forward to safely bringing a positive impact to the West Auckland community and the infrastructure industry,” says Blair.


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 19 May 2020 10:03 AM | Deleted user


    “We are proud to support the Visionweek web summit, which will start the conversation on a national vision for New Zealand,” says Paul Blair, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

    “Visionweek runs from 8-12 June. It is a free, inclusive opportunity for individuals, businesses, iwi and communities to share their vision for what the well-being of New Zealanders should look like in 5, 10, or 50 years.

    “A national vision will give purpose and direction to $100 billion worth of public spending and will heavily influence the remaining $200 billion of private spending in our economy.

    “The COVID-19 crisis showed us that an aligned nation of five million can achieve world-leading results when we know what we’re trying to achieve.

    “With a vision to give us the ‘why?’, a long term, integrated national plan is possible, providing clarity on what is important, where, how and who is responsible for delivery. With a long-term plan for the success of our country, we can generate ‘additional effort’ from people and communities towards our shared goals.

    “It is time to focus on the comparative strengths we have as a nation, including our early exit from COVID lockdown. We also need to address some of the critical areas where New Zealand lags OECD peers such as housing quality and affordability, equality of opportunity, productivity and addressing climate change.

    “Our Finance Minister in his pre-Budget speech said “there are few times in life when the clock is reset. Now is the time we should address these long-term issues. It is a privilege many countries won't have. It's not one we should squander,"

    “A series of fantastic speakers will put forward their ideas on five daily digital TV programmes as a thought starter for hearing what you, as organisations and as individuals, believe our country should look like.

    “Speakers include Peter Beck, Frances Valintine, Tamati Kruger, Sir Peter Gluckman, Kate Boylan, Shamubeel Equab, Dr Rod Carr, Rachel Taulelei, Sir Stephen Tindall, Nicole Rosie and Rod Drury amongst many more.

    “We urge all our members and their staff to register for the summit at, and to start thinking about how they can contribute to this shared vision. Participants should post their ideas, videos, polls or other content using the #visionweekNZ hashtag on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter, so these ideas can be shared through the platform.

    “To learn more about how your team can get involved in #visionweekNZ, you could register for one of two briefings where the Visionweek team will outline how to get involved. Click this link for a session today, and this link for the Thursday session.

    “We have a rare opportunity to set a long-term vision and create a national strategic plan for New Zealand to lift the wellbeing of all New Zealanders - we now look forward to your engagement to bring these ideas forward,” says Blair.

    Visionweek is made possible by the support of multiple partners, including Sustainable Business Council, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, InternetNZ, the Ministry for the Environment, Infrastructure New Zealand and ASN Media.


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 18 May 2020 5:42 PM | Deleted user


    “We are delighted to release a new report today, in collaboration with the University of Canterbury Quake Centre and their Building Innovation Partnership, on the value and need for a Digital Twin for New Zealand’s infrastructure,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “A Digital Twin is a data-based replica of the built environment. It brings together the many disparate datasets on buildings, water, transport, energy and other infrastructure and uses that data to build a digital model of the real world that can experimented with to inform decision making.

    “By mirroring our physical environment digitally, we can easily discover potential challenges and shared solutions between infrastructure that too often is disconnected from each other.

    “Digital twins allow you to easily share data in a standardised form, collaborate on solutions, and better plan maintenance and new construction.

    “Our country has over $300 billion in infrastructure assets and will spend another $100-150 billion over the next 10 years in maintaining and improving our infrastructure.

    “A Digital Twin would be an easy win to streamline and combine works, reduce uncertainty, and facilitate long-term strategic planning.

    “It could be particularly valuable in optimising the delivery of programmes emerging from the Infrastructure Reference Group prioritisation process.

    “This report encourages the Government and Industry to collaborate on a Digital Twin for New Zealand. We believe it could have a transformational impact on the way our industry and country works,” says Blair.

    “Leveraging our infrastructure data is possibly one of the most effective investments that we can make at this time. We have smart people, the technology needed, and a vision for the future. Let’s take this opportunity to be clever with our data to build, run and maintain our infrastructure in ways that deliver the services needed for New Zealanders to flourish,” says Greg Preston, Quake Centre Manager.

    We thank the Quake Centre and our many members who collaborated with us to develop this report and advance this thinking. Please read the report by following this link.

    To learn more about Digital Twins, and to hear from the some of the experts leading this work, please watch our webinar on the topic, tomorrow morning at 10:30am. You can register for the session by following this link


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 14 May 2020 6:15 PM | Deleted user


    The Government’s budget has made prudent investment in some no-regrets infrastructure sectors, which will get the sector going while we plan the transformational investment needed to build back better,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair.

    “The budget includes over $6 billion in infrastructure capital expenditure, the bulk of which is a $3 billion fund to go towards shovel-ready projects.

    “This $3 billion spend will be informed by the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group and Crown Infrastructure Partner’s hard work but will not be exclusive to it. We expect to see detailed project announcements in the coming weeks and months.

    “An additional $1.1 billion is being spent to upgrade and maintain transport infrastructure, including $400 million to replace the Interislander ferries, $250 million on the national rail network, and $420 million on new locomotives, mechanical facilities, and signalling for KiwiRail and Auckland’s rail networks.

    “Social infrastructure rounds out the total with $750 million allocated to health capital expenditure, $115 million for school capital expenditure, and $5 billion from Kāinga Ora’s debt allowance to build another 2,000 social houses per annum for the next four years.

    “Also pleasing is the ongoing funding announced to retrain workers for critical industries such as construction, which will be needed to build industry capacity for more work to come.

    “These no-regrets investments are a welcome first step to addressing our country’s severe infrastructure deficit, but more will need to be done.

    “Major investment in addition to Budget 2020 will be required for our aging and inadequate water, urban development, and transport infrastructure.

    “But we also have the chance to build back better. This is our chance to reposition New Zealand’s economy for coming decades so that it is more productive, inclusive and sustainable.

    “What does that economy look like? Who should pay for the infrastructure which enables it? What’s the role of local government and the private sector?

    “We have the opportunity now to address these big questions. Doing so will tell us where to prioritise the transformational strategic investments which New Zealand will need to emerge from this crisis stronger than before,” Blair says.   


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

  • 04 May 2020 1:18 PM | Deleted user


    The Government’s confirmation that Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting processes will be streamlined is great news for the recovery but must be just the start of the reform process,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair. 

    The RMA has become a litigious, cumbersome, and complex piece of legislation. It was never intended to be applied the way it has been, and it was not designed to facilitate recovery from something like the COVID-19 lockdown. 

    "New Zealand has several successful RMA fast-track precedents, notably after the Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes. 

    The two-year sunset clause on the fast-track measures should align well with the longer-term resource management reforms being considered by the Randerson Review. 

    It is now imperative that the Government also aligns both immediate and longer-term RMA reforms with wider planning and consenting statutes. 

    If projects receive RMA approval only to be held up by business case or Local Government Act process requirements, then we won’t get the progress we need. 

    Parallel processes are required, so that projects can move through RMA fast-tracking at the same time as design, effects modelling, procurement and funding details are confirmed.   

    Eighty per cent of construction projects in New Zealand come from the private sector and local government. Now is the time to experiment with risk and reward conditions to fast track projects of all sizes, not just the big ones we can all name from memory.  

    “Infrastructure New Zealand’s Building Regions proposal provides a pathway to implementing this reform. 

    We have the opportunity to not just get our country moving in the short term, but also to set it up for the success in the long-term, Blair says. 

    Infrastructure New Zealand has also released a joint press release (click here to read) with Resource Reform NZ, a partnership between Infrastructure New Zealand, the Environmental Defence Society (EDS), the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Property Council New Zealand, and BusinessNZ.


    For further information and comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436 

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