New Zealand Business Sector – Strong Infrastructure Commission has tough task

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: EMA

The EMA says much is riding on the board and chief executive of the new National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) announced by Infrastructure Minister Hon Shane Jones today, with a difficult task ahead to deliver on its purpose.
Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the EMA has been a long-time supporter of establishing the Commission as New Zealand, like many other countries around the world, faces an infrastructure lag and a pressing need for large-scale infrastructure and associated sequencing, project timing and funding.
“Minister Jones has also championed the establishment of the Commission and has pulled together a strong team with relevant experience, although with the legislation allowing for up to seven board members, there is scope to bring on another member with experience in construction delivery to fill an obvious gap.
“We see the NIC as a key to kick-starting a significant, well planned and consistent pipeline of infrastructure projects needed across a number of sectors in New Zealand. We need significant new infrastructure in water, transport, schools, hospitals and housing development to deliver improved results for the wellbeing of New Zealanders and support our people to play a positive part in our country’s future.”
It is pleasing to see the board and chief executive having a strong mix of private sector expertise and government experience as both local and central government play critical roles in funding infrastructure across the country, Mr O’Riley says.
“We’re also pleased to see outgoing Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood on the board as we have worked closely with Stephen on a number of projects and he has worked tirelessly towards the outcomes the Commission seeks.”
Mr O’Riley says the EMA shares the concerns of those in the infrastructure sector about the lack of forward projects in the infrastructure pipeline, with little on the horizon to follow the completion of projects such as Transmission Gully, the Manawatu Gorge and the extension to Auckland’s northern motorway.
“We hear about people laying off staff and not filling vacancies because there is no visible pipeline of new or promised projects emerging. The EMA has high hopes the Commission can provide some certainty around this to encourage confidence for business in this sector.”
About the EMA:
The EMA is New Zealand’s largest business service organisation dedicated to helping people and businesses grow. It offers advice, learning, advocacy and support for 8000 businesses as members of the EMA, ExportNZ and The Manufacturers Network. The EMA is part of the BusinessNZ network and its territory spans the upper North Island. The EMA also offers many of its services nationally to member businesses, and through its partners. www.ema.co.nz.

New Zealand Public Service – Public servants deserve a safe working environment

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: PSA
The Public Service Association welcomes the introduction of workplace standards by the State Services Commission that make it clear public services should expect positive and safe workplaces.
2016 research done by the PSA, in collaboration with Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work, found 43% of public servants had experienced bullying at work and a third had experienced discrimination. 
“Everyone deserves a workplace where they feel safe and respected,” says Glenn Barclay, National Secretary of the Public Service Association.
“It’s positive to see the State Services Commission takes the problem seriously and is working on solutions. Public servants work in highly pressured environments and this puts them at greater risk.”
“People working in public services are motivated to make a difference for New Zealanders. In their work they are rightly expected to show respect and care for New Zealanders. They can only do this if their workplaces operate according to these same values.”
There is greater risk of mistreatment in workplaces with high work pressure and additional hours expected, coupled with less access to flexible working.
Organisations where change is managed well and people are able to contribute their views report lower rates of bullying.
“The safety of our members is our top priority,” says Mr Barclay.
“We fully support the standards, and will also work independently as a union to hold agencies to account for meeting them.”

Inflation Dynamics: Upside Down Down Under?

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

21 August 2019

Thirty years after the Reserve Bank adopted an inflation targeting regime to deal with inflation that was too high, central banks now have a different problem: inflation being too low.

At a panel discussion yesterday at the Bank for International Settlements forum at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Manila, Reserve Bank Assistant Governor and General Manager of Economics, Financial Markets, and Banking Christian Hawkesby discussed Inflation Dynamics and whether they were ‘Upside Down Down Under’.

“One of the key challenges of our time is for central banks, academics and financial markets to comprehend this new environment and deliver the appropriate policy response,” Mr Hawkesby said.

“It is testing our understanding of what is normal and welcome when it comes to inflation, interest rates, wage growth, and fiscal spending.”

At the panel discussion, Mr Hawkesby spoke about the Reserve Bank’s assessment of what has caused this period of low inflation; what had been learnt; and how this was being applied by the Monetary Policy Committee in 2019.

While some commentators have questioned whether monetary policy still works in the current environment, Mr Hawkesby outlined the body of research undertaken by the Reserve Bank that has found no evidence of any change in the effectiveness of monetary policy in New Zealand in the past 25 years. In other words, that that monetary policy does still have bite even in this low interest rate world.

“Our assessment is that monetary policy is still effective in influencing inflation in New Zealand, through a number of channels.

“This is one of the factors that motivates our continuing determination to set policy, whether with conventional tools or unconventional tools, to achieve our dual mandate of price stability and maximum sustainable employment.”

On the decision by the Monetary Policy Committee to lower the Official Cash Rate by 50 basis points to 1.0 percent at its August meeting, Mr Hawkesby noted that “decisive action now gave inflation the best chance to lift earlier, reducing the probability that unconventional tools would be needed in the response to any future adverse shock.”

More information:

Media contact:
Brendan Manning
External Communications Adviser
DDI: +64 9 366 2643 | MOB: 021 923 217
Email: Brendan.Manning@rbnz.govt.nz

ICT Advisory Committee vacancy

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

Nominations open for Area 1.

The ICT Advisory Committee is charged with monitoring, researching and reviewing issues around the implementation of ICT, liaising with appropriate bodies and reporting regularly to PPTA Executive and to Annual Conference.  It also serves as a clearing house for ICT development in schools by sharing and publicising best practice.

In order to ensure the Committee is reflective of a range of secondary teacher views, Conference established the composition of the group as follows:

  • 2 members of PPTA Executive
  • 1 member nominated by Te Huarahi
  • 10 regional representatives
  • 1 representative from low-decile (1-3) schools
  • 1 representative from Te Kura/Correspondence School
  • a PPTA member representative from NZACDITT (NZ Association for Computing, Digital and Information Technology Teachers)

Call for nominations

Applications are now invited for a representative from the following area:

Area 1: Upper, Central & Lower Northland, Auckland (North of Harbour Bridge)

The selection of a member will be made by the President and General Secretary. 

Please download the attached nomination and profile forms and complete and post to

ICT Advisory Committee Nominations
PPTA
Freepost 103122
PO Box 2119
Wellington

Or email to dclark@ppta.org.nz by 5pm on Friday 27 September 2019.

Workplan

As well as working by email the Committee may meet in Wellington up to four times a year.  PPTA pays all actual and reasonable costs including travel, leave without pay, accommodation if necessary and any childcare costs. 

Term of Office

The term of office on the Committee will be for two years.

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 August 2019 10:18

State Highway 2, Wairoa Bridge, Te Puna

Source: New Zealand Police

Motorists are advised that State Highway 2, near the Wairoa Bridge, Te Puna is closed due to a truck crash.

The crash happened at around 08:50am when the truck transporting chemicals went off the road.

Some chemicals have been spilt on the road however there is no risk to the public.

No one was injured in the crash. 

The road could be closed for some time while emergency services clear the scene.

Diversions are in place.

Motorists are asked to expect delays or to avoid the area if possible.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Strong leadership for new Infrastructure Commission

Source: New Zealand Government

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has today announced the inaugural board for the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga.

Speaking at the annual Building Nations symposium in Rotorua today, Minister Jones has named Dr Alan Bollard as chairman of the new independent Infrastructure Commission.

The Commission is tasked with developing a long-term infrastructure plan and pipeline and helping Governments make decisions to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

“I’m so pleased to be announcing the new board today, particularly former Reserve Bank governor Dr Alan Bollard as our chairman,” Shane Jones said.

“As a Government, we’re confident the board brings together a wide range of skills and experience essential for providing effective leadership in the infrastructure sector, and delivering the step-change we need.

“I’m also delighted to today be able to announce Jon Grayson has been appointed by the board as chief executive.

“Jon is currently Deputy Secretary Financial and Commercial at the New Zealand Treasury and he has played an integral role in the establishment of the new Commission,” Shane Jones said.

The Government allocated a record $41 billion in Budget 2019 for capital spending over the next 5 years, focused on building schools, hospitals, houses, roads and public transport. 

“Because of this, the two overarching functions that Te Waihanga will have – strategy and planning, and delivery support – are more important than ever. The Commission will develop a 30-year infrastructure strategy for New Zealand, as well as producing a pipeline of major projects, both of which I’m aware are keenly anticipated by the sector,” Shane Jones said.

“The new board combines significant economic expertise with legal, financial, regulatory, and on-the-ground experience, all of which are essential to delivering these goals.

“Throughout the process of setting up Te Waihanga, establishing and maintaining credibility with industry has been a core focus. I’m confident this board has the mana to build effective relationships with stakeholders, and dismantle the various barriers to building high quality infrastructure in this country – whether they be financing, planning, or a lack of certainty and capacity among those we rely on to deliver projects.

“I’m also confident their counsel on infrastructure matters will be valued highly among my Cabinet colleagues, when it is called for.

“It’s easy to demand increased spending on infrastructure, but more difficult to create the conditions conducive to this. The Coalition Government knows delivering the schools, transport system, and hospitals New Zealanders need takes more than just rhetoric, and I’m proud to be delivering the next step toward realising our ambitious capital expenditure programme,” Shane Jones said.

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission is on track to be operational by October this year. 

Notes to editors:

Minister Jones’ speech notes are attached. Please note the oral delivery may differ significantly.

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission:

Dr Alan Bollard (chairperson) is a Professor of Practice at Victoria University of Wellington. He has extensive experience as a senior public servant. He has previously  held  roles  as  the Executive  Director  of  the  Australia  Pacific  Economic  Cooperation  (APEC)  Secretariat, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and Secretary of the New Zealand Treasury. He holds a PhD in Economics and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Auckland University.

Jon Grayson (chief executive) is currently Deputy Secretary commercial and financial at the New Zealand Treasury and is responsible for Treasury’s debt management, the Crown’s commercial portfolio and advice on infrastructure and housing policy. He has a strong background in capital markets and major infrastructure investment management and has held senior executive roles within the public and private sectors. 

David Cochrane is currently a Special Counsel at Simpson Grierson. His experience includes drafting law in New Zealand and overseas, and he has advised on the implementation of government policy in a range of areas including local government, transport, government administration, corporatisation, conservation, superannuation, primary industry and health.

Raveen Jaduram is currently the Chief Executive of Watercare Services Limited. Prior to this, Raveen was the Managing Director of Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited, which is a private water company in Australia. Mr Jaduram has a Masters in Civil Engineering and over20 years’ experience working in the water industry in New Zealand and Australia. He has deep institutional and systems knowledge of the infrastructure sector, and has worked with a variety of stakeholder across the public and private sector.

Sarah Sinclair is a member of the Expert Review Panel for the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga establishment project. She is currently a partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, and is the Chair of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Partnership. Ms Sinclair has extensive experience acting for both government and private sector clients in large-scale, complex infrastructure projects. She is known for providing commercially pragmatic, strategic advice on infrastructure funding models, procurement strategies and contracting structures. She has extensive experience in infrastructure and construction law.

Stephen Selwood is the Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand and has an understanding of strategic governance and integrated long-term planning linked to the effective funding, regulation, and delivery of New Zealand’s infrastructure system. He has extensive experience in leadership and governance across the infrastructure sector, and has worked extensively with Ministers and the public and private sector. Mr Selwood has a clear sense of public accountability, and works effectively in a collegial, decision-making environment.

Sue Tindal is an experienced banker and Chief Financial Officer with extensive knowledge of domestic and global markets, including structuring large multi-currency infrastructure financing programmes. She has proven experience and knowledge in government, financial services, technology, energy, transport and logistics sectors across both regulated and non-regulated environments. Ms Tindal has lead and delivered large infrastructure and technology projects in New Zealand, Australia and Asia, which required complex internal and external stakeholder management. She is a Fellow, Certified Practising Accountants of Australia.

New Zealand Finance Sector – Advisory: Financial services and community join forces to tackle hardship

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: FinCap

The Financial Services Federation (FSF) – the voice of responsible lenders and leasing companies – and FinCap – working with consumers facing financial hardship – are signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this Thursday 22 August in Auckland. It will improve the ability of Financial Mentors to represent their clients effectively, and it will support work in financial services to improve response to hardship.
FSF has a long-standing commitment to responsible lending, having developed Responsible Lending Guidelines which were incorporated as Lender Responsibility Principles in the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act and applying to all lenders that came into force in 2015. They have a number of voluntary codes to further encourage responsible practices. The clients of the 200 local budgeting services working with FinCap typically have debts with finance companies, impacting on their financial wellbeing. Part of the role of local Financial Mentors is to advocate for their clients with lenders.
Both FSF and FinCap believe that the best outcomes for our mutual clients comes from working together.
FinCap, Chief Executive Tim Barnett said:
“Financial mentors spend a lot of their time advocating for clients with lenders and creditors. This can be a difficult process with many barriers. This agreement will help to reduce those barriers and make it easier to get positive resolutions for our clients and their creditors. It will lead to a win-win solution for borrowers and lenders.”
FSF Executive Director Lyn McMorran said:,
“FSF represents the responsible lenders in the market. Part of our commitment to responsible lending is to work constructively with financial mentors in the community to help prevent financial hardship. We look forward to formalising our already positive relationship with FinCap and the services they work with.”
This MoU is particularly significant in the context of Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill that is currently going through Parliament. This Bill will strengthen regulations related to credit contracts.
The MoU is being signed on Thursday 22 August 2019 at an event in Auckland CBD.

Rodney Healthy Harbours and Waterways Fund applications open

Source: Auckland Council

Rodney Local Board’s Healthy Harbours and Waterways Fund is now open and will assist landowners and community groups keen to improve water quality in Rodney.

The fund supports community-led initiatives that restore waterways and wetlands on private and Māori land, with a focus on the Kaipara, Mahurangi and Makarau catchments which have a high concentration of E.coli bacteria.

Makarau farmer James Thompson is a previous successful applicant to the fund, using the money to do fencing work on his farm.

“This has allowed me to exclude stock from a section of the Makarau River and fence off a feeder gully. Without this funding, I would not have been able to complete these tasks for some time to come.”

By the end of this round in June 2020, around $1.2m will have been invested through the fund since it was launched three years ago. This includes $750,000 allocated by the local board which will enable 30,000m of stock proof fencing to be installed and the planting of 49,000 native shrubs.

Te Uri O Hau, through the Te Arai Native Nursery, is also supplying plants. In addition, the council’s targeted water rate contributed $99,000 to the fund.

The local board is partnering with industry groups Beef and Lamb, Dairy NZ, Fonterra and community group The Forest Bridge Trust. These groups operate within the local board area and work directly with local landowners.

The Forest Bridge Trust has received funding for two projects located in areas of high ecological value. The trust helped landowners leverage funding from other partners for fencing. The areas are protected from stock and plans are underway for planting and pest control.

Applicants who meet the fund criteria can apply for funding of up to 50 per cent of their entire project cost provided they supply or source the other half of the project’s budget.

Applications are open until 15 September. For more information and to apply, visit the council funding website.

Time – E tū

Source: Etu Union

by Sean Hindson

We have time, right now – we all have time. I say this because we have time in the form of the moment we are in together; right now.

It’s is the ‘right now’ that we all share, regardless of our beliefs, our fears, our worries, our hopes, or our views on the world.

We can take this ‘right now’ to acknowledge that we are vulnerable, acknowledge that we have made mistakes, acknowledge that we have to (not need to) but have to come together.

The planet we belong to is screaming at us, demanding change. It is showing us through fires, typhoons, floods, and storms that we have to change. The planet is demanding change, it’s demanding it because it too is vulnerable.

Being vulnerable, as we and the planet are, is the catalyst for change.

I have been in discussion with people who deny the fact the world is changing. I have had the ‘what ifs’ thrust upon me. I have had my conversations cut short by those people who refuse to acknowledge the absolute certainty that the impact of humans has transformed our earth.

These people seem to be strong now, but are essentially oblivious to the change that is required by us all to enhance the lives of the generations of youth to whom we will entrust this earth.

Those of us aware of our collective vulnerability are already forging greater change, fighting by looking inwards and having an awareness of the fear we all have, shifting the way we think and allowing ourselves the courage to think differently

Take a moment to think about the courage it takes – undiluted courage – to know that vulnerability is a strength.

The first steps are already being taken around the world. In New Zealand, the Just Transition is to my mind, an acknowledgment of that vulnerability which can be such a strength.

So where do workers and people tie into this? They are at the core, the foundation. Workers are the ones who will essentially have the power to change these mindsets.

We have to change ourselves. It is painful to look in the mirror, acknowledge our faults, and be true to ourselves and each other.

Workers mostly have more to worry about than the long-term future. When we work together, truly work together, to shift those mind sets, to force change in those businesses that do not allow workers to have standards of living that afford them the ability to think compassionately about more than just the immediate future… then we shift the world.

In essence that is the key.

Workers in our regions should be in a position where they can think about the long-term future while acknowledging and appreciating the moment they are in.

This ability comes with equal standards of pay, training, and that most precious of assets… time. Time to share moments with community, family and friends. Time to converse and be open with those that surround you.

I personally reckon we have known this for a very long time. My question is: why has it taken so long for businesses to allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to care in a truly honest and deep way?

After all, time marches on for businesses, too. No one is exempt from the effects of what we are doing to ourselves and our environments, because our environments are, in the end, ourselves.

Contempt of Court Bill passes third reading

Source: New Zealand Government

A Bill that consolidates and modernises the rules relating to contempt of court has passed its third reading, Minister of Justice, Andrew Little says.

Contempt of court includes disruptive behaviour in court, harmful publicity that interferes with fair trial rights, and untrue and damaging allegations aimed at the judiciary.

“It is important the law is clear and accessible, and this Bill achieves that,” says Andrew Little.

“Contempt of court undermines the integrity of the court system. The courts need powers to respond effectively to threats to the effective administration of justice,” says Andrew Little.

Contempt laws have become increasingly antiquated, and needed to be modernised to fit the digital age.

Amongst its provisions the new legislation clarifies that jurors must not turn to the internet to look things up or research information relevant to the trial before them. Fair trial rights mean that jurors must only consider the evidence they have heard in the court room. 

“Even though the Bill includes new rules to fine jurors who seek out their own information, the Government’s focus is on better education and instructions for jurors,” says Andrew Little.

 “The Bill clarifies the scope of the offence previously known as ‘scandalising the court’ by confirming that it applies only when someone makes a statement that is factually incorrect, known to be incorrect and intended to undermine public confidence in the judiciary. Any prosecution of this offence requires the approval of the Solicitor General.”

The case of Solicitor-General v. Smith (2004) illustrated the need for this provision in the Bill. In this case, the defendant made remarks about a court which the High Court said were “intemperate, derogatory and unfair.”[1]The High Court said this sort of provision was needed “to protect the Court, not the dignity of its Judges. It guards the institution, not the individuals.”[2]

“This Bill, which started life under the hand of Hon Chris Finlayson, provides much needed clarity and will be good for the administration of justice and the rule of law in New Zealand,” Andrew Little says.


[1] Solicitor-General v Smith [2004] 2 NZLR 540 (HC) at [94].

[2] ibid, at [85].