December Construction News
MinterEllisonRuddWatts in the Market
Janine Stewart interviewed on RadioNZ about retentions
Publication in Legalwise
MinterEllisonRuddWatts Partner Janine Stewart and Solicitor Frank Brown discuss the recent High Court decision in Bennet v Ebert Construction Limited (In rec & liq) and the guidance provided on the retentions regime in their article High Court provides guidance on retentions regime.
Court of Appeal quashes resource consents for $500m Shelly Bay development
The Wellington Company Limited applied for consent in September 2016 to construct 350 new homes, an aged care facility and a boutique hotel. The Court held that the Wellington City Council made an error of law by relying on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013, but not taking into account the Resource Management Act. Andy Foster of the Wellington City Council said if Shelly Bay is not deemed a special housing area when the consent is reconsidered, the development would likely not proceed due to its intensity.
City Rail Link $500m contract withdrawn after contractor faces financial trouble
RCR Tomlinson, the preferred bidder for the project, went into administration in November, but the joint venture between RCR Infrastructure New Zealand and WSP Opus will finish the railway for $7.5m. RCR Tomlinson and its New Zealand operations will be sold in order to maximise returns for creditors. City Rail Link chief executive Sean Sweeney said that other international firms have reached out to show their interest, however, they are in no rush to decide before late 2019. Sweeney said he is confident in the market completing the construction.
Apartment developments lodge applications to sell to overseas buyers
With the controversial Overseas Investment Amendment Act coming into force, four applications have been made to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for a “Transitional Exemption Certificate”. The certificate allows developers to sell to overseas buyers without consent from the OIO. Hengyi Pacific, a developer of The Pacifica, was granted a certificate after passing a series of tests. The other three will be decided within 50 working days. Applications for the certificates can be made up until February 21, 2019.
High Court ruling means Engineering NZ will reopen case against CTV Building
Justice David Collins held that the body made an error of law when it discontinued disciplinary proceedings against Dr Alan Reay, whose company built the CTV Building that fell in the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake, killing 115 people. The investigation stopped in 2014 due to Reay’s resignation, but the body has now sworn to reopen complaints against him. Reay issued a media statement saying that he is receiving advice on whether to appeal the High Court’s decision.
Auckland Council agrees to further $14.5 million for America’s Cup Infrastructure
The council has confirmed additional funding for the America’s Cup defence in 2021 after the government decided to provide a further $22.5 million. This is the result of “more accurate and detailed construction costs from final design work and the granting of resource consents.” Mayor Phil Goff said that the cup will bring excitement to New Zealand, create of thousands of jobs, “and an estimated economic value of $600 million to $1 billion”. The funding will allow for “more open space, parks, commercial developments and improved facilities for marine sports” after the cup.
University of Otago receives $10m from NZ’s richest man for dental school
Businessman and philanthropist Graeme Hart and wife Robyn have given the university its biggest donation ever to open a $28.2 million, two-storey, 32-chair dental school in South Auckland. University of Otago Trust chairperson John Ward said that the facility “will not only provide students with diverse practical learning opportunities but will also provide dental care for the local diverse communities at a highly accessible cost.” Construction is set to begin shortly, with the opening date expected to be in 2020.
$200 million Mt Messenger bypass in North Taranaki approved
Independent commissioner Stephen Daysh announced resource consents have been granted for the 5.2km bypass on State Highway 3, with a 120m bridge over wetland and a 230m tunnel. The bypass will be one-kilometre shorter, and is expected to save driving time, as well as reduce transport costs and accidents. According to Regional Transport Committee chairman Craig Williamson, construction will commence soon. Plans include establishing a 3650-hectare pest management area, restoring six hectares of swamp forest, planting 200 seedlings for every tree felled and using fences and vegetation to protect stream-bank. There is a 15-working-day appeal period to the Environment Court for NZTA and all submitters for resource consent decisions.
KiwiBuild CEO Stephen Barclay in employment dispute with Government
Despite claims that Barclay had resigned five months after stepping into the role, a spokesman from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development said that Barclay was just “away from the office”, and that Brad Ward is “providing operational support for KiwiBuild.” The NZ Herald reported that the dispute was over moving the KiwiBuild unit from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. Housing Minister Phil Twyford and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will not answer any questions, however Ardern said it was “operational”. National’s housing spokeswoman Judith Collins said that it “sounded like a vote of no confidence in KiwiBuild”, and that “any resignation needs to be announced”.
Manawatū’s $1.5 billion development is going strong
The November Provincial Growth Fund announcement included a further $48 million worth of projects, which will have significant economic benefits for the region over the next 10 years. Major projects so far include the $397 million upgrades to the Defence Force, as well as the Hokowhitu housing development, for around $130m. Another addition from the fund is a $40m new rail freight centre in Palmerston North. Some projects have been delayed, including Palmerston North’s $250m freight ring road. Construction is set to start next year, and end in 2024. Council economic policy advisor Peter Crawford said that the delay will ensure projects are consistently spread out.
Auckland Mayor suggests extra $5m to assist with construction of HomeGround
Old City Mission buildings are currently being demolished to make way for the construction of HomeGround, the new building on Hobson St. HomeGround will provide accommodation, health services and community facilities, with the purpose of helping the homeless. Mayor Phil Goff said that “To my knowledge, this is one of the largest single grants to any organisation of that nature in a similar period.” The $5m grant was the only new item announced on 29 November for the 2019-20 budget, and will be debated in the following months by the council.
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