03 November 2016

Policy Update – 3 November 2016

Our fortnightly policy updates keep you up-to-date with the industry.

Government increases visibility of opportunities to invest in infrastructure

In Sydney last week New Zealand’s Finance Minister Bill English and his Australian counterpart, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison, launched the Australia-NZ infrastructure pipeline (ANZIP). ANZIP is an online portal that sets out infrastructure investments opportunities throughout Australasia. It lists about 25 New Zealand-based projects and about 90 Australian-based projects from government agencies, local authorities, State-owned enterprises and publicly-listed companies. The projects are valued at more than $100 million and have either recently started or are yet to get underway.

In a media release the Minister said the launch of ANZIP signals a joint commitment to building a more integrated infrastructure market between the two countries. “I expect ANZIP will help grow foreign direct investment in both countries, as well as giving greater visibility of future investment opportunities”, the Minister said.

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The previous week, on 21 October, the Minister launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows infrastructure projects valued at $100.9 billion are in the pipeline over the next decade. Of the 3823 projects in the 2016-2025 pipeline, 219 belong to central government and are valued at $40.5 billion, 3559 belong to local government and are valued at $51.1 billion, and 45 projects belong to the private sector at a value of $9.2 billion.

To find out more see The 2016 National State of Infrastructure Report, which was also recently released. The report noted increasing certainty and visibility of investment opportunities but that challenges remain, particularly with an ageing population, changes in regions’ demographics, increasing pressures on natural and fiscal constraints.

Energy Innovation Bill introduced

On 27 October Energy and Resources and Transport Minister Simon Bridges introduced the Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill to Parliament. The Bill implements parts of the Government’s Electric Vehicles Programme, makes changes to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) levy funding, and clarifies how electricity industry legislation applies to secondary networks.

In a media release the Minister noted “New Zealand’s environmental and energy objectives are changing and we need to accommodate emerging technologies and new business models by ensuring our laws are fit-for-purpose. This Bill will support our focus on reducing emissions and improving energy productivity, while encouraging innovation,” Mr Bridges says.

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Māori tech and investment US programme underway

The Government is supporting an intensive eight-day programme to increase New Zealand’s exports and provide high-value jobs for Māori. Te Tira Toi Whakangao, a programme organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise with support from EY’s Māori advisory practice EY Tahi, sees a delegation from the New Zealand Government, industry and Māori investors travelling to the United States to investigate opportunities to accelerate Māori tech companies’ plans to enter or expand in the US market. The programme also aims to improve understanding among Māori tech companies and investors of trends and opportunities in the global technology sector and to promote investment in Māori-owned technology.

In a media release Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell noted “Māori-owned technology is an area with huge growth potential. The start-ups and established technology companies taking part in this visit are already on a growth trajectory, and many have exciting commercial developments coming together”.

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Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment releases report focussed on agricultural greenhouse gases

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright has released Climate change and agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases which sets out the issues associated with agricultural greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide. These gases make up about half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and the Commissioner notes reducing these gases will not be easy. She sees opportunities for New Zealand to reduce emissions by planting new native and plantation forests. She says “It might not be the whole solution, but a million hectares of trees would make a big difference – not to mention the added benefits for erosion and water quality.” 

“Our farmers have shown time and again their ability to adapt to new challenges,” she says. “The world will continue to need food. But in the long term the way in which food is grown, and the types of food grown, will have to change if biological emissions are to be reduced.”

Read the report

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy responded to the Commissioner’s report on behalf of the Government. In their joint media release they noted the report provides a robust and objective examination of how emissions from agriculture are created, as well as options for reducing them. “Dr Wright’s report is consistent with the Government’s view that mitigation of greenhouse gases from agriculture is difficult and requires a multi-pronged approach,” says Mrs Bennett.

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