Advocacy in a Nutshell | July 2018

Welcome to the July edition of Advocacy in a Nutshell; the latest update from our advocacy team, featuring all of the projects, policy and issues that matter to you.

This month we're taking a look at the seven advocacy priorities set by the team at the beginning of the year and reporting back on recent actions and next steps.

Our priorities are:

We'll also give a quick overview of what is happening in the Branches.


Credibility, reputation and influence

Outcome sought

The property sector is viewed as a large positive contributor to the New Zealand economy so that decision makers proactively make decisions that benefit the sector (and use Property Council as the go-to organisation for advice and information on property).

Recent actions

  • Steady progress in building relationships with the new Government, including discussions with NZ First Ministers and with Minister Twyford.
  • Met with National Party MPs Judith Collins and Scott Simpson
  • Extensive media coverage on National Awards, overseas investment in housing (including NZ Hearlad and Newshub’s AM show).  Regional media coverage has included Waikato development contribitions, rates differentials in Tauranga and BoP Property People Awards pre-publicity.

Next steps

  • Ongoing meetings with politicians and journalists
  • Meetings with press secretaries of new National spokespeople
  • Meeting with key television journalists.

Infrastructure funding and provision

Outcome sought

Infrastructure is well planned, is funded sustainably and equitably and built in a timely way to ensure cities facilitate growth sustainably.

Recent actions

  • Oral submission to the Governance and Administration Select Committee on Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill completed.  
  • Establishing an internal Working Group of members to assist the Advocacy team in developing positions on alternative infrastructure funding solutions. 

Next steps

  • Meeting has been requested with Minister Shane Jones to discuss infrastructure funding and the planning system.  We have also set an initial infrastructure funding solutions working group workshop.  
  • Continued engagement with officials and elected members both central and local.
  • Contributing to planned Government review of local government funding system (due mid-2018).

Finance and tax settings

Outcome sought

Government's fiscal, financial and tax policy settings facilitate growth of the property sector.

Recent actions

  • Select Committee Report on the Overseas Investment Bill released. Reviewed and circulated assessment of report 19 June 2018, noting some wins for developments of scale
  • Matt interviewed on the AM show about changes and reference to Property Council views in print media
  • Fire levies delay recommended by Minister and she indicated more work was to be done to ensure levies could be made equitable.

Next steps

  • Continued engagement with the Government’s Tax Working Group members to ensure they understand our issues and concerns
  • Contributing to planned Government review of local government funding system (expected mid-2018)
  • Follow-up on fire levies with Minister and officials
  • We will review the Tax Working Group report once released and report back to members 
  • Continued engagement with elected members and officials on Overseas Investment Act and Tax issues.

Planning system reform

Outcome sought

The resource management, local government and infrastructure planning and funding systems are reformed to ensure they are integrated and flexible (i.e. non-prescriptive) to facilitate growth and development.

Recent actions

  • Oral submission to the Governance and Administration Select Committee on Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill completed
  • Submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft low-emissions economy report on the built environment
  • Planning system survey is live for member feedback
  • Met with National Party MPs Judith Collins and Scott Simpson to discuss RM system
  • Beginning to develop recruitment material and industry pledge to get more like-minded organisations to join the Resource Reform NZ group  
  • Ongoing discussions with MBIE and MfE officials on urban growth agenda and Urban Development Authorities
  • Met MBIE officials meeting and discussed the growth council reports on the National Policy Statement for Urban Development Capacity. This information will be made public but is currently stalled
  • RRNZ meeting with politicians from several parties to discuss necessary planning changes.

Next steps

  • Continue meeting with Resource Reform NZ (RRNZ) and recruit more like-minded organisations to support change  
  • Survey RRNZ participants on issues they have with the planning system and the RMA
  • Send a reminder email about the planning system survey to encourage more uptake
  • Analyse survey results from members on the planning system
  • Meeting with Minister Shane Jones requested to discuss infrastructure funding and planning system. 

Asset management

Outcome sought

Management of, and investment in, buildings and provision of tenant services is made easier, more cost effective and keeps pace with technological change and societal and investor expectations.

Recent actions

  • Q2 Commercial Property Monitor Survey has been sent to members via Advocacy email and Property Voice. 

Next steps

  • Further work to align New Zealand office, retail and industrial measurement standards with International Property Measurement Standards.  
  • Q2 Commercial Property Monitor Survey results to be released 27 July 2018. 

Building system and building code reform

Outcome sought

The costs (time and money) imposed by the building regulatory system on the property sector are minimised while maintaining or improving safety and innovation.

Recent actions

  • Continued participation on the Building Advisory Panel
  • Provided feedback to MBIE officials on Risk and Liability
  • Met with MBIE official leading work on more effective consenting
  • Produced a paper for Residential Development Committee on MBIE’s upcoming Risk and Liability Project.  

Next steps

  • Continued participation on the Building Advisory Panel
  • Engage with MBIE during consultation phase of Risk and Liability Project.

Construction sector transformation

Outcome sought

Productivity and value for money of the design and construction sectors improves.

Recent actions

  • Presentations (or participation) at a range of public engagements, including Construction, Innovation and Technology Forum, Facilities Management conference
  • Interview with Connal on Radio New Zealand about Councils holding too much risk. 

Next steps

  • Ongoing participation in CIC and BAP
  • Finalise media strategy for exposing the cost of regulatory compliance in the construction industry. 

In the Branches

Residential Development Council

Recent actions

  • Met with Stephen Barclay, Head of Kiwibuild Unit to discuss Property Council’s engagement with Kiwibuild and how we can assist
  • Met with MBIE official leading work on  more effective consenting, who has a focus on medium-density housing 
  • BRANZ research underway on construction costs and the difference between NZ and Australia
  • Cost Tower research underway to examine breakdown of development costs  
  • Qualitative interviews underway to examine consenting issues within the medium density residential development sector
  • Additional research project on building code differences (Australia/NZ) being scoped
  • Oral submission to the Administration and Governance Select Committee on Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill
  • Sent letter to Minister Phil Twyford and Minister Jenny Salesa on previous research work undertaken regarding the construction sector, with acknowledgement received from Minister Salesa's office.

Next steps

  • Finalise project plan for building code research
  • Finalise BRANZ research on construction costs (2019)
  • Finalise research with Beacon on consenting issues (August)
  • Finalise research on development costs (August)
  • Property Council to be part of a meeting on ways to track housing completion in Auckland (led by Leone Freeman). 

New Zealand Council of Shopping Centres

  • “Brand Onion” workshop held by Rachel MacGregor with NZCSC committee to understand the different aspects of the NZCSC brand. Discussion of re-naming the Council of Shopping Centres to the Retail Property Forum of New Zealand
  • Business plan to be developed and new name to be ratified by National Council.

Auckland

Recent actions

  • We drafted Property Council’s submission on the Auckland Council’s draft Development Contributions Policy, with a recommendation to delay policy development on 19 June 2018, which was agreed to by Auckland Council. This represents a small win for Prpperty Council as we expressed concerns that this process was being rushed. 

Next steps

  • Develop a plan to ensure the Auckland Executive is more diverse and inclusive
  • Need to continue advocating with Ministers with alternative infrastructure funding streams
  • Continued engagement with Auckland Council elected members and officers regarding their draft Development Contributions Policy and continuing changes
  • Arrange a meeting with Auckland Council Mayor and CEO. 

Bay of Plenty

Recent actions

  • TCC adopted the Long Term Plan which recommended a rates differential of 1:1.2 to be phased over the next three years
  • We wrote a letter to the Mayor and Councillors questioning the transparency of this proposal, especially when staff had been directed to explore alternative funding options to compliment or replace the proposed rating differential
  • CBD revitalisation research being scoped. 

Next steps

  • CBD revitalisation research options to be discussed with branch executive at upcoming July meeting.

Waikato

Recent actions

  • Hamilton City Council’s Long Term Plan adopted with a rates increase of 9.7%
  • Hamilton City Council’s development contributions policy adopted with increases of up to 144% for developers
  • CBD revitalisation research being scoped. A brainstorm on research options was completed at the Waikato Branch meeting in June
  • Ongoing liaison with members who are considering legal action against the development contributions. Property Council has decided not to be party to the legal action
  • Property Council views reported in Waikato Times (and via Stuff). 

Next steps

  • Continue to build ongoing relationship with Mayor, councillors and key Hamilton City Council staff
  • Keep an eye out for the District Plan reviews  
  • CBD revitalisation research options refined and discussed with branch executive.  

Wellington

Recent actions

  • Property Council oral submission to Wellington City Council completed
  • Letter written to Greater Wellington Regional Council on proposed transport differential of 8.0 for CBD businesses and 1.5 for other businesses (excluding Wairarapa). Acknowledgement from Chair was positive.

Next steps

  • Involvement in further engagement with NZTA, Greater Wellington and Wellington City Council on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving consultation
  • Keep an eye out for development contributions draft policy being released.  

South Island (including Otago)

Recent actions

  • Communications with QLDC on concerns regarding their LTP process and the potential risks associated with holding the LTP deliberations in confidence
  • Teleconference with CCC officers regarding the JLL CBD Research. 

Next steps

  • Need to continue advocating with Ministers around the anchor projects and a holistic approach to Canterbury development
  • Need to continue advocating with Ministers around local government capability particularly related to smaller councils i.e. Queenstown Lakes District Council
  • The Advocacy team to draft an advocacy plan based on the CBD revitalisation research
  • Draft a solutions report on the JLL Christchurch CBD Research for consideration by the South Island Executive. Event to be held 31 July 2018 to report on the research and potential solutions
  • Review and engage with QLDCs on their Furture Directions Strategy. Currently their growth strategy is not in line with the National Policy Statement for growth.

Author | Matt Paterson

As Property Council New Zealand's Head of Advocacy, Matt leads our team of advocacy advisors, researchers and public affairs experts. Based in Wellington but frequently found in all corners of the country, Matt has his finger on the pulse of central government, providing valuable insights for our membership and acting as the conduit between our members and the country's movers, shakers and policy makers.

Get in touch here.