Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Water Investment Must Not Be Drip-Fed

The government’s latest announcement around water infrastructure investment provides welcome support for New Zealand’s ailing water networks. But to support COVID-recovery, fix systemic problems and provide employment, work should start quickly rather than being drip-fed.

Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock said the Prime Minister’s Havelock North announcement of NZD $761m to invest in water infrastructure was well overdue as the country’s aging water networks were failing due to overload and decades of underinvestment.

CCNZ Chief Executive Peter Silcock

“This investment is a great start, but the problem is huge. Three waters services are expected to need around NZD $17 billion over the next decade, with much of the work centering around replacement of aging assets and upgrading to meet new freshwater and wastewater standards.”

He said water systems were essential for the health of the country and the environment, but there was a tendency for local authorities to work based on system failure rather than planned maintenance, with contractors often hired to install ‘patches on top of patches’.

“Now that central government has extended this support, local authorities must step up. It’s their responsibility. What we don’t want to see is local authorities using the funding as an excuse to reduce their own portion of funding and carry on with the same old approach. We must do better.”

Systemic change driven by local authorities was needed. The linking of funding to a reform package recognising the need for aggregation of local authorities as water asset owners was welcome, reducing duplication and complication, he said.

“It’s very frustrating for contractors to have to deal with multiple water authorities, so the challenge for central government in dealing with them all at once is huge. Some of the problems we face result from doing the same thing 70 different ways. Now the incentive is there, we need to fix the issues.”

Mr Silcock said it was “disappointing” no timeframes had been announced for this work, given the urgent need to upgrade systems and retain skilled workers post-COVID.

“We’re in a very strange situation. We have more than 100 ‘shovel-ready’ projects in the pipeline the government is not willing to announce just yet. But we all know work takes a long time to reach the market, and contractors can’t hold their workforce indefinitely waiting for projects to come along.”

A lack of tenders coming to market had contractors worried, with a sizable gap in projects and prospective job losses across the construction and engineering sectors, largely due to reduced spending from private clients and local government.

He said structural change would take time, but timing of the work coming to market was critical. Coupled with a lift in the council debt cap and streamlined consents, he hoped the announcement would give local government confidence to bring existing projects to market, keeping people employed and delivering on the country’s need for clean water and effective wastewater systems.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Economy: COVID-19 Lockdown Has Widespread Effects On Labour Market

In the June 2020 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent, down from 4.2 percent last quarter, while underutilisation rose, Stats NZ said today. More>>


NZ Post: New Research By NZ Post Shows Online Shopping Grew 105% In Alert Level 3

New research by NZ Post into how the COVID-19 response has impacted the way Kiwis shop online, shows online shopping increased 105%* when the country moved into Alert Level 3, and may have changed the way Kiwis shop permanently. Online spend peaked ... More>>


Banking: Westpac NZ Lowers Merchant Fees For Small Businesses

Westpac NZ is rolling out a new merchant fee pricing structure that will lead to cost savings for more than 10,000 small and medium Kiwi businesses, and could make contactless transactions more widely available for customers. On 1 September, most ... More>>

REINZ: Million Dollar Plus Property Sales Increase 11.7% Nationally

The number of properties sold around the country for one million dollars or more during the first half (H1) of 2020 increased by 11.7% compared to H1 2019, with 5,426 million-dollar plus properties sold (up from 4,858 in H1 2019) according to the Real ... More>>

Waste: Government To Regulate Plastic Packaging, Tyres, E-Waste

The Government is stepping up action to deal with environmentally harmful products – including plastic packaging, tyres and e-waste – before they become waste. As part of the wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills, ... More>>


Bankers Association: Banking Becomes First Living Wage Accredited Industry

Banking has become New Zealand’s first fully living wage accredited industry, leading to nearly 1800 employees and contractors moving onto the living wage and gaining greater economic independence for them and their families. As of today, all ... More>>


QV Valuations: July House Price Index Illustrates Market Resilience

According to the July 2020 QV House Price Index (HPI) results out today , property values recorded a marginal increase, up 0.2% over the month. This is somewhat of a turnaround from June, after the national index edged 0.2% lower. More>>


Property: Queenstown Rents Experience Biggest Drop In Seven Years

Rental prices in the Queenstown-Lakes district saw the biggest annual percentage drop in seven years after falling 28 per cent on June last year, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index. Trade Me Property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said ... More>>

Seismology: The Quiet Earth

As many daily activities came to a halt during lockdown, the Earth itself became quiet, probably quieter than it has been since humans developed the technology to listen in. Seismologists have analysed datasets from more than 300 international ... More>>

RNZ: James Shaw Says Kiwibank, Not Ministers Should Decide On Investors

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says Kiwibank's decision to stop doing business with companies dealing in fossil fuels is the right one. More>>


FMA: Kiwis Confident Financial Markets Will Recover From COVID-19, Plan To Increase Investments

Despite the majority (60%) of investors experiencing losses as a result of COVID-19, the outlook on investing remains positive, according to a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) survey. Most Kiwis (71%) were optimistic that the pandemic will pass eventually ... More>>

FIRST Union: Warehouse Using Covid For Cover As Extensive Restructure Makes Everyone Worse Off

(FIRST Union comments on The Warehouse consultation and proposed restructure) 'Unfortunately the Warehouse have done the disappointing thing and used Covid-19 to justify a bunch of operational business decisions that will leave hundreds of workers without jobs ... More>>


Stats NZ: Mixed Performance By Regions Leaves National Emissions Picture Unchanged

Approximately two-thirds of New Zealand’s regions recorded decreases in their total greenhouse gas emissions, while one-third of regions saw increases between 2007 and 2018, Stats NZ said today. “While some regions reduced their emissions, ... More>>