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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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.

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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

$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

SCCZEN_A_180615NZHJOTRAINS08_620x310The Government and Auckland Council have today signed off terms of reference setting out how central and local government will work together to develop the city’s transport system.

Finance Minister Bill English said more than 700,000 additional people were expected to live in Auckland by 2045.

“Long-term solutions for Auckland’s transport system are central to ensuring it remains a great place to live and do business, and it is also important for the economy as a whole.”

“This population growth means Auckland will need another 400,000 houses over this time frame – and transport infrastructure is key to delivering this.”

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said that together the Government and Council planned to invest $4.2 billion in Auckland’s transport system over the next three years.

“While that work will continue as agreed on the roads, public transport, walkways and cycle ways, we are now turning our focus to the next three decades and beyond.

“The Government and Council broadly agree on the priorities for the transport system, and we are particularly focussed on addressing congestion and increasing public transport use,” he said.

The terms of reference set out a structure under which officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission would work together to test alternative options for how the transport system could develop.

A preferred approach was expected to be presented by officials in about one year.

“The Government and Council will then consider the preferred approach and how it may be delivered, including whether changes might be needed to legislation and funding arrangements,” Mr Bridges said.

The Automobile Association, Auckland Business Forum and Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) welcomed progress on the joint transport project.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett said he hoped it put an end to Auckland-Wellington feuding on the city’s transport priorities.

EMA chief executive Kim Campbell said the city was struggling to cope with growth, 7000 new cars were being registered every month and there was a compelling case for further spending on transport.

“We want to see funding streams and time frames for moving these vital projects along,” Mr Campbell said.

Source

  • The Herald
  • Photo – Jason Oxenham

5 years since Christchurch changed

getimage (5)Five years ago today, 436,000 lives in Canterbury changed.

We did not know by how much or when we might return to normal, but we can agree that the upheaval started with a 7.1-magnitude earthquake 40 kilometers west of Christchurch just after 4.30 am on September 4, 2010.

The devastating aftershock that struck the city nearly six months later changed Canterbury on a much larger scale, but September was the start.

How do you measure and define the recovery? Dollars spent? Time elapsed? There is no right answer.

In truth, there are 436,000 different recoveries happening at once – one for every resident of Christchurch city and the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.

No two versions of recovery are the same.

We have each taken stock of the process countless times and probably arrived at different conclusions for how the recovery is faring.

In the interests of providing the fullest answer possible, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (CECC) asked a cross-section of key players in the rebuild to report their progress by a handful of measures, including project size, completion date and value. Dozens responded.

This year, perhaps for the first time, that snapshot hints at conclusion. The Earthquake Commission has completed 97 per cent of its 69,081 building repairs and 80 per cent of 150,735 land claims. More than 80 per cent of all quake insurance claims are settled, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand. The Stronger Canterbury Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) is 76 per cent through it $2.2 billion job of repairing the city’s roads and pipes. Almost all of the work in the central city (96 per cent) is finished.

The CECC asked respondents when they expected to finish their work. Some major projects, including the central city bus interchange and the ‘‘Deloitte’’ building on Cambridge Tce, are already finished. Next year looms as a big leap forward with a cluster of retail developments – the BNZ Centre, the ANZ Centre on the old Triangle Centre site, the Crossing and the Terrace – all scheduled for completion.

‘‘I would think by the end of next year, October 2016, when the heart of that central city retail offering is up and operational . . . you’re going to see a major shift,’’ CECC chief executive Peter Townsend said. ‘‘You’re going to see people coming back into the central city in ways that we haven’t seen for five years.’’

A Cera report from July estimated the rebuild – measured as progress in residential, nonresidential and civil construction – was 41 per cent complete. Of the three categories, only residential construction spending was trending down. The other two were steady or climbing. The peak for all construction in the city (including business-as-usual building) is shaping as the last quarter of 2016, when Cera estimates $1.3b will be spent.

The idea the rebuild was already peaking was ‘‘fallacious’’, Townsend said. He puts progress at somewhere between 35 and 40 per cent. The decline, when it did come, would be gradual. ‘‘We’re not going to fall off a cliff. The Government’s assessment of the end of this earthquake recovery phase is 2026. We’re going to taper off.’’

In construction terms, Cera estimated that would translate to a decline from the late 2016 spending peak to about $500m in the final quarter of 2021. By then, Christchurch will have almost spent all of the $40b recovery bill.

‘‘That [spending] has an impact on the future of Christchurch that I don’t think people have factored in,’’ Townsend said. ‘‘I’ve often been challenged by people saying ‘We’re only replacing what we’ve lost.’ No we’re not. It’s all new. We are recreating a city.

‘‘I don’t know anywhere in the world where $40b has been tipped into a population of 360,000 people to recreate a city. It’s unique.’’

The bulk of the money will filter through the economy via insurance payouts (according to the Insurance Council, commercial and residential quake claims are about 88 per cent and 84 per cent settled respectively) but some will arrive through big ticket developments. The University of Canterbury will spend $1.2b on its redevelopment by 2022, including new engineering ($145m) and science ($216m) facilities due by 2016 and 2017. The Ministry of Education’s $1.1b Christchurch Schools Rebuild programme includes the rebuild of 115 schools. The $900m redevelopment of Lyttelton port – a mix of quake repairs and expansion – will continue until 2042.

As those time frames suggest, the rebuild was never going to be a five-year job. Charles Eadie, who led the rebuild of Santa Cruz city after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, told Fairfax Media the recovery reached a ‘‘turning point’’ six years after the quake and most work was completed after 10 years.

‘‘I think we’ll look back on this period of our lives and say . . . we were hopelessly optimistic when it came to time frames,’’ Townsend said. ‘‘We all thought we’d be over this in five years. No, we won’t.’’

The statement is truer of some things than others – Scirt prioritising central city infrastructure repairs over suburban ones, for example.

‘‘I don’t want us to get to 10 years and think that we’re in that kind of state we won’t be able to reflect very positively on our journey,’’ Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

The focus brought on the central city by the recovery blueprint and the magnitude of the task of repairing broken parts of eastern Christchurch posed that risk, she said.

Source:

The Press

Next stage for Christchurch rebuild

9bRMehChristchurch business leaders are applauding the Government’s transition proposal where the Government retains a key role in the Christchurch rebuild over the next five years.

They were concerned that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) winding up next April year would leave a vacuum of leadership in the city and the Government’s commitment to anchor projects was flagging.

Ngai Tahu Property chief executive Tony Sewell said the proposal addressed every issue the business community had been concerned about.

He was happy with the Government’s “complete commitment” to building the Convention Centre and the Metro Sports centre. Ngai Tahu is part of a consortium chosen as the Government’s preferred partner to develop the Convention Centre.

Businesses had been concerned Government support for Christchurch was flagging “but it’s not.”

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee must report back to Cabinet by the end of August on the setting up of a new urban development authority, called Regenerate Christchurch, to lead the rebuild of the central city when Cera winds up in April.

The Christchurch City Council has set up its own development authority but the Government proposes now that its development authority should “integrate” with the council’s.

The Christchurch City Council and the Government are expected to work together to set up Regenerate Christchurch and decide what its aims are, what its functions would be, what powers it had and who would pay for it.

“They have clearly set out that there is going to be a relationship between Government and council, ” Sewell said.

Asked could the council and Government work together Sewell said “it’s not a can, it’s a must”.

“The voters and the ratepayers won’t tolerate a standoff.” Sewell said.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the proposal was sensible,offered a staged and predictable transition with the Government roles slowing decreasing and the council’s increasing.

It relied on collaboration between central and local government, “which I applaud” and good strong commercial governance.

He expected the Government and the council to appoint the board members of Regenerate Christchurch.

The chamber had been “pushing strongly” for a governance model over the top of the rebuild projects and that was now going to happen.

Asked if Regenerate Christchurch was just the Christchurch Central Development Unit (within Cera) with a new name, Townsend disagreed with that and said the transition proposal was a step change with new legislation, new leadership and a new collaborative relationship between the Government and council.

He expected the government and council to appoint directors to the board.of the development authority. Those people would have strong commercial experience and project management backgrounds and tracks records.

The Government’s proposal referred to some of Cera’s powers expiring or going to councils and some role for Ngai Tahu.

Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the tribal council of Ngāi Tahu,  Sir Mark Solomon said he was not aware of any detail on that.

He was on the advisory board, headed by Dame Jenny Shipley, that advised the Government. It called for a “demonstrable step-change in local leadership”.

Sir Mark said the advisory board wanted to see control start to return to the city though the Government still needed to be involved.

Hawkins Construction executive director Jim Boult said he was delighted the government confirmed its commitment to the Convention Centre and Metro Sports centre.

He would like to see timeframes on those two. The Convention Centre was “the lump in the throat” of the central city developing, he said.

Source:

  • The Press

$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

mainmotorway_620x310Auckland is receiving 30 per cent of a national land transport budget of $13.9 billion over the next three years.

The Government’s Transport Agency has this afternoon announced that the Super City – with about one third of the country’s population – will receive $4.2 billion for state highways, local roads, public transport, walking, cycling and road policing.

About $3 billion – or just over 71 per cent – of that will be Government money from fuel taxes paid into the National Land Transport Fund, leaving Auckland Council to pay the remaining $1.2b.

That does not include projects outside the land transport programme for which the council is allocating Auckland Transport an additional $1 billion, including for the City Rail Link.

Aucklanders will also contribute $520m of “external revenue” such as parking fees and fines, and public transport fares.

Their city’s share of the overall “partnership” pot from the national programme will include $1.175 billion for public transport, $960 million to maintain highways and local roads, and $91 million to improve cycling and walking.

That is additional to $24.75m the Government said last week it would contribute to Auckland from its $100m urban cycleways fund.

Today’s transport announcement opens the way for early starts on a $1 billion package of road freight connections between the Southern and Southwestern motorways, and also commits funds for the first time to design an extension of the Northern Busway, from Constellation Drive to Albany.

It includes $48m to continue preparations for a $760m motorway extension to Warkworth, which the Government hopes will be built as a public private partnership from late next year.

The transport programme has allocated $268m to widen the Southern Motorway beyond Manukau, and has increased the budget to complete the Waterview Connection and related projects along the Northwestern Motorway on Auckland’s long-awaited western ring route from $2b to $2.27b.

The national allocation represents a 15 per cent increase in land transport funding from previous 2012-15 programme.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the $13.9b programme represents the largest ever spend on land transport, and will deliver on Government priorities of increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety, strengthening regional transport networks, lifting investment in public transport and cycling, and ensuring value for money.

The Government’s share of the national programme amounts to $10.5 billion.
Roads will account for $10.3b of the programme.

That comprises $6.3b for state highways which are fully Government-funded and $4b for local roads, about half of which are financed by councils and their ratepayers.

Almost $2b has been earmarked for public transport nationally, a 21 per cent increase, and investment in cycling will more than triple – to $251m.

But the Green Party says the programme is focussed too heavily on “carbon-polluting transport infrastructure, rather than building a clean, balanced and efficient system for the 21st Century.”

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said National had chosen to continue spending more than $1b a year “on a few carbon-polluting motorways that haven’t even passed a business test.”

She commended the increase in money for urban clearways, but criticised the Government’s “foolish and unjustified policy of not funding rail infrastructure from the National Land Transport Fund, even though rail is obviously a form of land transport.”

Regional allocations for the coming three years:

Allocation to other regions for the coming three years include:

  • Auckland – $4.223b
  • Northland – $460m
  • Waikato – $1.812b
  • Bay of Plenty – $591m
  • Wellington – $1.439b
  • Hawkes Bay – $245m
  • Taranaki – $187m
  • Manawatu-Whanganui – $450m
  • Gisborne – $120m
  • Greater Christchurch – $1.575b
  • Canterbury (outside Christchurch), Otago, Southland and West Coast – $977m
  • Upper South Island – $221m

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Photos: Brett Phibbs

Anchor projects cause anxiety!

1431085048320Canterbury sports enthusiasts and businesses are “hugely disappointed” and frustrated two of Christchurch’s major anchor projects will be delayed.

The Government on Friday said completion of the metro sports facility would be delayed to early 2020 and the convention centre to late 2018.

Concern is also growing for Cathedral Square’s renovation with ASB Bank pulling out of plans for a new regional headquarters there.

Indoor sports players, swimmers and other athletes have all been waiting keenly for the metro sports facility to open but will now have to wait three more years.

The centre was initially supposed to be finished by March 2017.

Mainland Netball chief executive Bridget Hearn said the news was “hugely disappointing” for indoor sport in Canterbury.

Five years was an “incredibly long wait” and lack of indoor space in the city was problematic.

“I know we have to be patient, and we are very excited about the metro sports facility, but we have had to turn away junior teams for lack of space.”

Rugby had transitional facilities, she said, but indoor and womens sports had been left in the lurch.

Canterbury Sport chief executive Julyan Falloon said there was “real frustration” at the delay.

Aquatic and indoor sports had been “hugely compromised” since the earthquakes, he said, and organisations would find it hard to plan ahead for infrastructure across the city.

School Sport Canterbury regional sports director Bill Grogan said the delay meant students would miss out on tournament opportunities.

“Canterbury students have to keep travelling for national tournaments as we can’t host any at the moment.”

The tourism and business community was also counting on an opening date for the convention centre in late 2017.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said progress on the centre was “disappointingly slow” and caused uncertainty among business owners and investors.

“People need to plan ahead. We keep getting these delays and this causes uncertainty about when it will actually happen.”

Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Centre Bureau (CCCCB) manager Caroline Blanchfield said the delay was “disappointing” but she hoped the centre would be open in time for a large health conference booked in November 2018.

The Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine would bring 800 delegates and an estimated $2.1 million to the city.

She said a “back-up plan” was in place in case the centre was not finished in time.

With the convention centre delays, the halving of the size of the performing arts precinct, and no sign of an answer on the future of Christ Church Cathedral, fears were rising that Cathedral Square was becoming toxic for development.

ASB bank announced in December 2013 it would be the anchor tenant for a four-storey office block to be developed at 9 Cathedral Square, on the site of the previous ANZ building.

However, ASB spokesman Christian May said the bank broke off negotiations with Central City Estates, the family investor group that owns the site, in December 2014.

May said ASB was now talking to developers of other “high profile CBD sites” and still expected to reopen somewhere by late 2016.

Ernest Duval, of the City Owners Rebuild Entity (Core), was unsure who would be booking conventions while the square’s future remained so uncertain.

“The pressing issue is to break the impasse on the cathedral and address some of these buildings like [the half-demolished BNZ House], [and] try and move things forward, because we’re missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of development,” he said.

Christchurch Central Development Unit director Baden Ewart said the Crown’s commitment to the vision of the blueprint had not changed.

Time frames had been reviewed and the public would be updated on them “as often as we can”.

Source:

  • The Press
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