PM brings news of partnerships with Spain (for global strategic reasons) and the Sallies (to provide housing on the home front)

The PM has announced one partnership – a strategic partnership between the governments of New Zealand and Spain – and welcomed the fruits of another, a partnership with the Salvation Army to deliver public housing.

Our attention was drawn more to the strategic partnership with Spain, because that country doesn’t normally command much attention Down Under.

Indeed, it’s a measure of Spain’s importance that the trade statistics – should you check them out on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade website – are dated  2014.

The total trade in goods between the two countries at that time was $723 million.

It was an imbalanced trading relationship – our exports to Spain were worth $170 million (although these did not include New Zealand goods such as kiwifruit that might have been shipped to Spain from another country).

We imported Spanish goods worth $553m.

The other partnership mentioned by the PM, with the Sallies, has just delivered 68 new public housing places for Aucklanders and their families.

But the big issue of the day was the release of reports which suggest investment of between $120bn and $185bn is needed over the next 30 years to ensure New Zealander’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure meets acceptable public health and environmental standards.

Partnership is involved insofar as the Government is working alongside local government and iwi on a proposal to combine the country’s 67 council-owned and managed water service providers into a small number of publicly owned providers.

There was no mention in the press release from Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta of co-governance arrangements to bring iwi into decision-making positions in the administrative bodies that will take control of our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

But Mahuta emphasised that the reports confirm the need for major reform to upgrade and maintain our water infrastructure, protect our environment, and avoid unaffordable increases to household bills.’

Without reform – according to the analysis she was brandishing – average household bills in 2051 are forecast to range from $1900 to $13,900.

Under reform proposals with five providers those figures range from $800 to $1800. With three providers the range is $800 to $1600.

Here’s the news from the Beehive –

  • Housing

Innovative financing and construction methods deliver 68 new Auckland homes

The PM and the Minister of Housing Megan Woods, have opened two new Salvation Army developments at Westgate and Flatbush, delivering 68 new public housing places for Aucklanders and their families.

Kaitiakitanga in Flat Bush, which comprises ten one-bedroom units and 36 two-bedroom units, will add 46 new public housing places in Auckland. Around 85 per cent of referrals for tenants to date are for households with dependent children.

Te Manaaki Tāngata in Westgate has 22 new public housing places, made up of two one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units.

Much of the operating funding for the developments were provided via Tūapapa Kura Kāinga – the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, but the press statement acknowledges that the projects got off to a quick start with initial funding from the Salvation Army and an impact investment through the Salvation Army Community Bond.

This was the first such bond arranged by Community Finance, an impact investment platform established in 2019, which is committed to driving significant growth in community housing.

These two developments follow an earlier Government/ Salvation Army partnership which  delivered Te Hononga Tāngata, a 50 unit social housing development in Royal Oak, Auckland, in late 2019.

 The Government housing programme has delivered 7,671 public housing places since November 2017, with 5,989 of them being new builds. The programme is on track to deliver over 18,000 public and transitional housing places by 2024

“Impact investment” refers to investments made with the intention of generating a positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.

  • Foreign affairs

Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain

This was posted “on the occasion of the virtual Summit, on June 2 2021, between H.E. Ms. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and H.E. Mr Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain”.

Spain and New Zealand are committed to elevate the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership based on the following elements.

  1. Bilateral Relations
  2. Global Values Partnership
  3. Multilateral actions
  4. Economy, Trade, Business, Investment, and Technology
  5. COVID-19 Recovery
  6. Climate Change and Environment
  7. Antarctica and oceans
  8. People to people, culture, education and sports
  •  Water

Reports prove case for urgent water infrastructure reform

Brace to be tapped, one way or another, for the big bucks needed to upgrade the country’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

In a press statement yesterday, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta highlighted:

  • Urgent reform is needed to save households from ballooning water bills
  • Reforms are estimated to deliver a $14b-$23billion increase in GDP
  • The work will supports the creation of 5900 to 9300 additional new jobs

The statement was triggered by reports which identify investment of between $120bn and $185bn is needed over the next 30 years to ensure New Zealander’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure meets acceptable public health and environmental standards.

The analysis was undertaken by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland. Two further reports by Farrierswier and Beca provide assurance of the WICS approach and its relevance for New Zealand.

Mahuta expects to announce Cabinet decisions “in the coming months”.

The full reports are available here

  • Trade

New Zealand welcomes start of UK CPTPP accession process

This one updates us on our trading relationship with the United Kingdom.

New Zealand has joined other members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in agreeing to start the process towards the UK becoming a member of the Agreement.

A special CPTPP Commission meeting, chaired by Japan, was held virtually yesterday afternoon, bringing together ministers and senior officials from all 11 CPTPP economies. The Commission took a consensus decision to begin the accession process with the UK and to establish an Accession Working Group for that purpose.

Under CPTPP accession procedures, candidates are expected to deliver the highest standard of market access commitments, including on goods, services and temporary entry for business people.

CPTPP economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam. Together they account for 13.3 percent of world GDP – worth a total of US$10.6 trillion.

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