Infrastructure spending to get boost of billions in May Budget

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$812 million will go towards repairing State Highway 1 around Kaikoura.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce will lift infrastructure spending by $4 billion more in the May Budget than previously indicated and an extra $7b in the following three Budgets. Of the $4b extra in next month’s Budget $812 million will go towards repairing State Highway 1 north and south of Kaikoura, which was damaged in the November earthquake.

Details of how the rest will be spent will have to wait until May 25, Joyce said in a formal pre-Budget speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce today. However, he announced a new debt target for the Government, to reduce net debt to between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025. The current target is to reduce net debt to about 20 per cent of GDP by 2020; it is expected to settle at 24.3 per cent by the end of June.

On the issues of tax cuts, Joyce said the Government remained committed to reducing the tax burden “and in particular the impact of marginal tax rates on lower and middle income earners, when we have the room to do so.” Joyce also hinted at greater use of public-private partnerships (PPPs). Joyce said that the boost to capital expenditure would represent the biggest addition to the Government’s capital spending in decades.

“To put that into context, the net new capital allocated in the last four Budgets was $4.8 billion, of which $4.1 billion was funded through the proceeds of the mixed ownership model programme.” In between Budget 2016, the Government was forecasting just $3.6b in new capital spending between Budget 2017 and Budget 2020, which would now be $11b in new capital spending.

“If you add the Government’s budgeted new capital investment together with the investment made through baselines and through the National Land Transport Fund, the total is around $23 billion over the next four years, or an average of nearly $6 billion per year.” And we want to extend that further, with greater use of public-private partnerships, and joint ventures between central and local government and private investors.”

Joyce said New Zealand’s stronger economic performance flowed through to the Government books. For the first eight months of the current financial year, tax revenue was nearly 4 per cent ahead of predictions in Budget 2016. “Our surplus in the eight months to February was $1.4 billion. That’s more than $900 million more than was predicted in the [December] half-year update. “A growing and more resilient economy allows us to meet some of the pressing needs that the Government is faced with from time to time.”

But he said one of the biggest risks to the New Zealand economy were the “more insular” economic policies being pushed overseas and by the government’s political opponents domestically. “Many politicians, even those in New Zealand, want to be more protective on trade, slash immigration, reduce foreign investment, institute radical new environmental regulation, centralise wage bargaining, blow up our R&D [research and development] incentive system or stop much needed roading being built, and increase taxes. “That’s the opposite of a recipe for growth. That’s a recipe for stalling growth.”

Source:

  • Audrey Young
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Mark Mitchell
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International hotel group buys Cathedral Square site for new hotel

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A major Japanese hotel and tourism group has bought land in Cathedral Square for just over $7 million to build a big hotel. The 2000sq m vacant property runs from Cathedral Sq to Gloucester St. It is part of the former Press site.  The deal has been called a vote of confidence in Cathedral Square, which has been a slow starter in the rebuild. The project will bring the number of existing and planned hotel rooms in the central city to about 2500. Christchurch lost more than three quarters of its 3700 hotel rooms in the earthquakes.

Former owner Canterbury Property Investments had been struggling to develop their own hotel on the site when the company was approached to sell, said director Miles Yeoman. Confidentiality agreements mean the hotel group’s identity has not yet been disclosed. It is understood to be new to Christchurch and will own, build and run the hotel.  “I understand they are going to move fairly quickly to build a big hotel,” Yeoman said. “We’re disappointed we couldn’t make something work ourselves, but this is great news for Christchurch, and for that part of the Square.”

Noel Gilchrist from commercial real estate firm Colliers, who brokered the deal, said the hotel would be “significant”, and would cover the whole site. Council rules mean the building could be up to 28 metres high. “They are working on the hotel plans. They like the site and it will be large-scale,” he expected the hotel would be “at least five-star”. The sale was settled on Wednesday. The $7.1m price was nearly double the $3.598m Yeoman’s company, Canterbury Property Investments, paid for the land in 2014.

The new owner is the properties fourth since the earthquakes. Development plans including an office building, a replica of the former Press newspaper building, and a Quest hotel have been proposed and abandoned in that time. The land is now used for car parking. The news follows last month’s announcement that developer Nexus Point will build new offices for telecommunications company Spark on the former BNZ House site. Gilchrist said the hotel news signaled confidence not just in Cathedral Square, but in the whole central city.

“It’s a vote of confidence of what is happening. We are getting a convention centre, the library is going in, and there are new office blocks going up. It gives the purchaser confidence that they are in the right place. “Add to that the tourism boom, and the fact that we’re short of hotel rooms. This is a good outcome all round.” He said that despite the amount of vacant land in the central city, sites suitable for top-class hotels were scarce as the operators wanted an outlook over a park, square or river. “Christchurch is on the radar of overseas buyers because New Zealand is a popular destination from Asia. We’ve been contacted by a number of hotel chains wanting sites for hotels.”

What about the other Hotels?

  • Already under way in Cathedral Square is the conversion of the former Millennium Hotel into Distinction Christchurch hotel. It should open by early next year.
  • The former Forsyth Barr office building opposite Victoria Square is being redeveloped as the new Crowne Plaza hotel, which is due to open this year.
  • A Holiday Inn Express is planned for Gloucester St between Press House and Cathedral Junction.
  • The Millennium chain is understood to be looking for a new site in or around Cathedral Square.
  • The Peterborough hotel will be built opposite Christchurch Casino.
  • Canterbury Property Investments will build a Quest hotel on the corner of Manchester and Southwark streets.
  • An apartment-style hotel is planned for Colombo St just north of Kilmore St.
  • The former Rydges hotel building may be repaired and reopened, but its owners are in insurance disputes.

Source:

  • Liz McDonald
  • co.nz
  • Photo: Iain McGregor

NZTA updates plans for $1.25 billion East West Link between Onehunga and Mt Wellington

Transport chiefs have released a new animation showing how they expect a major new highway in Auckland will ease congestion.

The East West Link between Onehunga and Penrose is designed to improve travel between State Highways 1 and 20.

The road is a priority project for supporting the long-term growth of Auckland and the continued economic development of New Zealand, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says.

It includes a new four-lane road on the northern side of the Mangere Inlet connecting SH20 at Onehunga and SH1 at Mt Wellington. The estimated cost is $1.25 billion to $1.85b.

The two-minute video details some of the features along the route of the new road, including walking and cycle paths joining Onehunga to the Sylvia Park shopping centre, a new coastal boardwalk and new planting.

NZTA says the design in the video has evolved from community feedback, including open days and engagement with local residents and community groups over the past three years.

“The changes made as a result of feedback can be seen in the animation, including the lowering of the East West Link into a trench along the length of the Onehunga Wharf,” said NZTA Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon.

“This trench provides the opportunity for future development of the land above it and creates a seamless connection between the wharf and the town centres of Onehunga and Mangere Bridge. This design responds to one of the biggest areas of concern for the local community.”

Another change is an elevated interchange at Great South Rd, with on- and off-ramps in both directions from the East West Link to Great South Rd and Sylvia Park Rd.

“The business community and transport operators identified concerns with the efficiency and reliability of a standard intersection between the East West Link and Great South Rd. We listened to that and developed the interchange as a result, which will allow local traffic to separate from state highway traffic,” said Gliddon.

“At the same time, we have included a cycleway through the area, maintaining dedicated off-road cycle and pedestrian connections.”

The animation also shows how the new road will enable better access to the waterfront at Mangere Inlet which will be transformed with 16km of new walking and cycle paths.

Wetlands will treat stormwater from the area before it flows into the harbour.

Source:

  • NZ Herald

Christchurch Convention Centre makes progress

convention centre

Artists impression of the convention centre from Victoria Square

Christchurch’s new convention centre could pull in $400 million in its first eight years, its developer says. Crown development company Otakaro Limited released new information and design images of the project on last week. “We want to create an attractive facility for Christchurch, that draws people towards the centre and its associated cafes and shops,” Otakaro chief executive Albert Brantley said.

The design allows the Christchurch Convention Centre to host events with up to 2000 people. It will include a 1400-delegate auditorium, a 3600-square metre exhibition hall, and 1600sqm of meeting rooms overlooking Victoria Square. “Estimates put the direct economic benefit of the convention centre to the Canterbury region at $300m to $400m in its first eight years of operation,” Brantley said.

auditorium

The auditorium is designed to seat 1400

Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) manager Caroline Blanchfield said Christchurch had just 9 per cent of the national conference market, and attracted very few conferences from Australia. Before the old conference centre was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake, Christchurch had 24 per cent of New Zealand’s conference market and 42 per cent of the conferences that came from Australia.

Blanchfield said international organisations had approached her about coming to the city, but would not do so without a fully-equipped conference centre. “We have unmet demand for conferencing in Christchurch.” The new centre is due for completion in 2019, and Blanchfield said Christchurch was already bidding for conferences from mid-2020 onwards. “It’s vitally important that it stays on schedule from now on. We don’t want to lose another year’s opportunity,” she said.

The Government originally planned to finish the centre in 2017, and it missed out on its first contract for a conference in 2018 due to fears it would not be finished in time. Blanchfield said international convention delegates spent twice as much as other international visitors, often extended their visit to other parts of the South Island, and were likely to return for holidays.

convention interior

Artists impression if the convention centre interior

Brantley said Woods Bagot architects and Matapopore Charitable Trust designed the building to reflect the South Island landscape. The main entrance, featuring curves reminiscent of Canterbury braided rivers, will open to Oxford Terrace and the Avon River. The Armagh St and Colombo St sides are straighter, holding to the traditional edges of Victoria Square and Cathedral Square, and the restored Lady Isaac building. The plan incorporates hospitality and retail outlets into the Colombo St side of the centre, and space has been set aside for a potential hotel. The Armagh St side will include areas for public use with a view of Victoria Square.

Earthworks on the site are well under way and a main works contractor is expected to be appointed about July. Archaeologists have found “bear grease” hair product, children’s cutlery, and 1840’s pharmaceuticals among other artifacts at the site. “A lot of the stuff we’re finding at the convention centre is relatively early for Christchurch,” Underground Overground Archaeology’s Jessie Garland said. The artifacts were found among cellar walls, a well, and rubbish pits dating back to the mid-19th Century. Garland said archaeological works would not delay earthworks for the convention centre.

Source:

  • The Press

Number of cranes goes sky-high

The construction boom is seeing an unprecedented number of cranes rise across New Zealand’s cities, according to research released today. The Q2 2017 RLB Crane Index revealed a record 132 cranes towering over New Zealand’s cities, with Auckland alone accounting for 72.

crane

“In Auckland, in particular, strong economic growth driven by high inward migration and increasing tourist numbers, along with solid housing activity, manufacturing and consumer spending, has seen the rock star economy continuing to drive the construction industry, where demand is stretching the current supply,” said Chris Haines, Rider Levett Bucknall’s Auckland Director.

“Auckland continues to dominate New Zealand skies with 72 long-term cranes, 55 per cent of all cranes observed across the seven key centres,” Haines said. “The current index highlights a 13 per cent increase in the number of cranes within the Auckland region since the last count in Q4 2016. Twenty-three new cranes have been erected and 15 have been removed from projects that are nearing completion.” Construction work put in place increased by 20 per cent in the 2016 calendar year, making it the fifth consecutive year of growth.

Source:

  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald

Mini-cities set to spring up on Super City’s fringes

Auckland is preparing for a new housing boom on the rural fringes of the city that will result in small towns like Warkworth, Pukekohe and Kumeu becoming mini cities. The city’s new Unitary Plan has prompted Auckland Council to lay out a new timetable for greenfield development costing $20 billion and, for the first time, a breakdown of infrastructure problems holding housing back. Today, the council’s planning committee will consider a report to allow for 120,000 new homes at six main locations in the north, north-west and south of the city. It is expected to be approved for public consultation between March 29 and April 18.

“It would be prohibitively expensive to invest in all future urban areas concurrently,” says an officers’ report about the need to provide transport, water, wastewater, stormwater, parks and community facilities over the 30-year-plan. Auckland needs about 400,000 new homes by 2041, many of which will be smaller townhouses and apartments built within the current urban footprint, close to public transport and existing amenities.

house

The Unitary Plan has increased rural land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha, including “live zoning” some land earmarked for urban development in the future. This has led Auckland Council to rethink the sequencing of land for housing. Factors, like the completion of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in 2021, have brought forward housing plans in Warkworth, and soil testing at Takanini has pushed back 5000 new homes.

Planning committee chairman Chris Darby said the plan made it feasible to build 120,000 new homes but to make it real it has to be funded, which is a challenge for council, central government and Aucklanders. Darby said the council had to grapple with huge infrastructure costs – some of which was budgeted for, but not all. One idea in Mayor Phil Goff’s first budget is to target new residential developments with higher rates to cover the council’s heavy infrastructure burden.

Borrowing more money is not an option because the council is already up against debt levels which could cost it its AA credit rating and higher repayments. The Government, a critic of Auckland Council’s land supply pipeline for new housing, last month announced plans for locally controlled urban development authorities(UDAs) with compulsory land acquisition powers and fast-tracked resource consent processes.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said the goal was to ensure enough urban land is available for housing, saying the UDAs need the powers to assemble parcels of land, develop plans, reconfigure infrastructure and build housing.
Darby said there had never been a plan for new housing in “greenfield” areas like the latest council plan. It made the timing of new developments clearer to owners of rural land and infrastructure providers and “probably put a lid on quick buck land speculation”, he said.

The six main rural areas identified for new housing are Warkworth and Silverdale/Wainui/Dairy Flat in the north, Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead in the north-west and Takanini/Puhinui, Drury/Opaheke/Hingaia and Pukekohe/Paerata in the south. About two-thirds of the new houses are planned in the north and north-west and one-third in the south. The council is also sequencing new housing at a number of rural and community settlements from Wellsford in the north to Glenbrook Beach in the south. Other settlements include Albany Village, Hatfields Beach, Helensville, Maraetai and Clarks Beach. Water and wastewater are the main constraints holding back more housing.

In Kumeu/Haupai where the council already has plans in place for 1400 new homes – but plans for a further 6600 homes have been pushed back until after 2028 – Rodney councillor Greg Sayers is calling for an immediate start to a structure plan to cope with the changes occurring. Otherwise, he said, developers could introduce private plan changes and override where schools and other key infrastructure should be located for the community. Sayers supports the idea of running diesel trains to Huapai, saying the community desperately want a train service as an alternative to “horrific” traffic on State Highway 16.

Auckland’s latest plan to turn rural land into housing

  • Auckland needs about 400,000 new homes by 2041
  • About 70 per cent will be in existing urban areas
  • About 30 per cent will be “greenfields”, essentially turning rural land into housing
  • The Unitary Plan has increased rural land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha
  • This has led to a rethink about the sequencing of land for housing
  • Some areas have been brought forward, others put back
  • Council needs to spend $6.7b on transport, water, parks and other infrastructure in the first decade alone to fund this growth and another $13b over the next two decades
  • Capacity for 32,000 houses are currently in the pipeline, mostly in the north-west and south
  • This will be followed by capacity for 21,500 houses over the next decade and 70,000 more houses between 2028 and 2047
  • In addition to major development council is sequencing new housing in many small communities, from Hatfields Beach to Maraetai

Areas brought forward

Warkworth North
Wainui East
Silverdale(business)
Red Hills
Puhinui(business)
Wesley(Paerata)
Opaheke Drury
Drury South

Areas put back

Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead
Whenuapai (stage 2)
Drury West (stage 2)
Puhinui (business)
Red Hills North
Warkworth North East
Takanini

What’s planned and needed in the way of infrastructure

  • Warkworth

2012-2017 – Warkworth North (business)
2018-2022 – Warkworth North( 2300 houses)
2028-2032 – Warkworth South (3700 houses)
2033-2037 – Warkworth Northeast (1500 houses)

A new wastewater plant needs to be built at Snells Beach to service development in Warkworth North. Expected to take five-to-six years. Later sequencing of Warkworth South provides for the efficient staging of wastewater infrastructure. The Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is due for completion in 2021 and associated upgrades of local roads align with the sequencing of Warkworth North. Warkworth North-East occurs later to allow connections to the town centre.

  • Wainui East/Silverdale/Dairy Flat

2012-2017 – Wainui East (4500 houses)
2018-2022 – Silverdale West/Dairy Flat (business)
2033-2037 – Silverdale/Dairy Flat (20,400 houses), Wainui East (7400 houses)

Interim water and wastewater solutions can provide capacity in the short-term to service the live zoned area at Wainui East where there is a cap of 2000 dwellings at the Special Housing Area. Sequencing of remaining areas reflects the need for significant water and wastewater infrastructure, including a new water main from Albany and additional wastewater capacity at Army Bay. The proposed business area in Silverdale-Dairy Flat has been brought forward to provide local jobs, address transport issues and structure planning for this area is likely occur in 2017-2018 to live zone some business land in the short-term.

  • Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead/Whenuapai/Red Hills/Scott Point

2012-2017 – Kumeu/Huapai (1400 houses), Whenuapai (1150 houses), Scott Points (2600 houses), Red hills (10,650 houses)
2018-2022 – Whenuapai Stage 1 (6000 houses)
2028-2032 – Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead (6600 houses), Whenuapai Stage 2 (11,600 houses), Red Hills North (1400 houses)

The sequencing of work in the north-west is dependent on completion of a new $538 million ‘Northern Interceptor’ wastewater pipe to handle growth in this area. Interim solutions can meet the wastewater needs for the live zoned area of Red hills and the first stage of Whenuapai until the Northern Interceptor is completed in about 2026. Kumeu, Huapai and Riverhead have been put back to align with safety and capacity issues on State Highway 16, and completion of the Northern Interceptor.

  • Takanini and Puhinui

2012-2017 – Walters Rd, Takanini (300 houses), Puhinui (business)
2028-2032 – Puhinui (business)
2038-2042 – Takanini (5000 houses)

The future urban zone is subject to significant flooding hazards and geotechnical constraints due to peat soils. Stormwater costs are high and further work is required to understand the viability of development in this area in the medium to long-term. It is proposed to put back development from 2027-2031 to 2038-2042.

  • Hingaia/Opaheke-Drury/Drury West

2012-2017 – Hingaia (3070 houses), Drury South (1000 houses), Bremner Rd, Drury West (1350 houses), Bellfield Rd, Opaheke (300 houses)
2018-2022 – Drury West Stage 1 (4200 houses)
2028-2032 – Drury West Stage 2 (5700 houses), Opaheke Drury (7900 houses)

Proposed interim solutions provide wastewater capacity for initial development in Hingaia, Drury West special housing area(now live zoned), Drury West Stage 1 and Drury South. In the longer term, augmentation of the South and Southwestern interceptors is required to provide wastewater capacity for the full build-out of these areas, including Drury West Stage 2 and Opaheke-Drury. The later sequencing of Drury West Stage 2 allows for a new expressway between Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe, needed to alleviate capacity and safety issues on State Highway 22. Opaheke-Drury has been brought forward slightly as a result of developer interest, but a solution is needed to flooding constraints in combination with the completion of wastewater infrastructure before comprehensive development can occur.

  • Paerata/Pukekohe

2012-2017 – Wesley, Paerata (4550 houses), Belmont, Pukekohe (720 houses)
2018-2022- Paerata (1800 houses), Pukekohe (7200 houses)

No infrastructure or sequencing considerations given in council report.

Smaller rural and community settlements

North

  • Wellsford

Further geotech testing required due to instability in some areas. A new water source will be required to service the Future Urban Zone areas. These areas will also require an upgrade to the wastewater plan, which is likely to take until the early 2020s.

  • Algies Bay

Upgrade to the wastewater outfall pipe is necessary to service new connections outside the existing service area.

  • Albany Village

Full build out of the Future Urban area will require new water services capacity and road upgrading.

  • Hatfields Beach

Wastewater upgrades are necessary to service new developments and likely to take until the early 2020s. With limited water supply, large scale development will require new transmission lines from Albany, which is likely to take 10 years following commencement of design.

North-West

  • Helensville

Further geotech investigation needed to manage slope stability issues and ensure effective drainage to overland flow paths and streams. The wastewater plant has recently been upgraded and can accommodate about 6000 people. This is sufficient for existing urban zoned areas and part of the Future Urban zone area. The Helensville State 1 areas is the closest Future Urban area to the wastewater plant. Watercare will monitor growth and review additional upgrade options when population nears the plant’s capacity.

South

  • Maraetai

The wastewater treatment plant will be upgraded as required in order to maintain discharge compliance and to accommodate growth.

  • Oruarangi

The area has sufficient water and wastewater capacity. Structure planning will need to take cultural heritage and landscape values into account, consistent with the Mangere Gateway Project.

  • Puhinui

The remaining Future Urban zone is not anticipated to be development ready until 2030 due to transport constraints and market readiness.

  • Clarks Beach

A new wastewater outfall at Clarks Beach will be required to service new development, subject to a sub-regional wastewater discharge consent which has been applied for.

  • Glenbrook Beach

New development will depend on the new Clarks Beach wastewater outfall, and structure planning for the new area to be developed as a gateway to the village.

Costs

2018-2028 – $6.7b(North $2b, North-West $2.2b, South $2.5b)
2029-2038 – $9.7b(North $3.5b, North-West $2.8b, South $3.4b)
2039-2048 – $3.3b(North $1.3b, North-West $700m, South $1.3b)

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Ted Baghurst
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