It’s been busy couple of months for the NZUAG Board and members. We ran a series of successful seminars on the Code and the review in 5 centres throughout New Zealand as well as three webinars using Zoom technology. The feedback was positive, and highlights the importance of promoting the Code throughout industry.
At the same time, the first round of Code review submissions has been analysed, and a revised draft Code is on the website. Submissions on the draft have now closed, and the Board is currently considering those before the Board meeting in November.
We are now preparing for our AGM on 28 November, which will be held in Auckland. We will be encouraging as many members as possible to attend, either in person or via Zoom. Details will be posted on our website closer to the AGM.
I want to thank you for your support of NZUAG in the interests of industry, the public and the New Zealand economy, and I look forward to your continued support as we progress the Code review and related issues over the next few months.
New Infrastructure Entity to be Established
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced the establishment of a new independent infrastructure entity “so New Zealand gets the quality infrastructure it needs to improve long term economic performance and social wellbeing”.
It is anticipated that the new entity will be operational by late 2019.
We will be keeping an eye on developments.
2018 NZUAG Code Awareness and Education Programme Review
NZUAG’s Code Awareness and Education Programme for 2018 involved a series of half day seminars presented at 5 locations across New Zealand, complemented by 3 webinar sessions. The seminars were titled “Transport Corridors and Utility Access – A NZUAG Seminar on the Code and its Review”.
The objectives of the programme were to promote the Code, to enhance local relationships and to promote the role of the NZUAG.
The seminars were held in Auckland (19 June), Rotorua (20 June), Christchurch (27 June) and Dunedin (28 June) and Wellington (6 July), with Board members presenting at the various locations. The attendance at the seminars was around 200, with around 70 participating in the webinars.
NZIHT were engaged to organise and manage the seminars, with Jill Warner doing an outstanding job on our behalf.
The seminar and webinar series went a long way to meet the objectives we had set, and the use of the Zoom technology for the webinars was proven as a significant efficiency gain in terms of costs, time and accessibility for participants.
We would like to thank all those who participated in the seminars and webinars, with special thanks to the presenters and Jill for her outstanding organisation.
Code Review Update
On behalf of the Board I would like to thank those who have made submissions on the Code review. The first round of submissions was considered by the Board’s Code Review Committee early in June, with the responses now available on the Code Review section of the website. A draft revised Code was prepared and a second round of submissions on the draft was called for. The submission period has now closed, and the Committee is currently considering the submissions. Once the recommended changes are agreed, the draft Code will be reviewed by our legal advisors before being submitted to the Board for approval at the November meeting. The revised Code will then be submitted to Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones for sign-off. We hope the new Code will be available in the first quarter of 2019.
Ross Malcolm (Electricity rep) and I met with Treasury recently to update them on the Code review, and to give them an assurance that the process has been robust. As a former Member of Parliament and Minister, I advised that this process was as good as any I had seen during my time in Parliament.
Code Monitoring and Reporting
Under Section 8 of the Code, NZUAG is required to report annually on the performance of the Code to the Minister and industry. The 2016/17 compliance report is available on the website.
In order to compile the 2017/18 report, we need to gather data from Utility Operators and Corridor Managers as outlined in the Code. We will use the same Survey Monkey platform that was trialed successfully for last year’s data collection. The format and questions will remain similar to those used previously, with a few minor changes for clarity.
This year’s return will emphasise that the supply of information via the survey is mandatory, with an expectation of a significantly improved response rate from the last couple of years.
The link to the survey will be distributed to CE’s of relevant organisations shortly, and CE’s will be asked to certify that their organisation has met the reporting requirements under the Code. Keep an eye out for the email!
The draft annual accounts are currently being audited, in preparation for presentation to the AGM in November. The Financial Report for 2017/18 will be available on the website prior to the AGM in November.
We expect to run a small deficit for the 2018/19 year, given the Code promotional activity and costs associated with the formal review of the Code. However, we have anticipated these costs and we will be able to manage any deficit through the reserves we have built up over time.
As you will be aware, NZUAG is an industry-based organisation which relies on funding from its members. We don’t receive any Government funding for the work associated with the Code. This decision was taken by industry to ensure independence from Government as well ensuring that the issues related to utility access to transport corridors were determined by industry itself.
Thanks to those members who have renewed their membership. Thanks also to the new members who have joined as a result of a recent membership drive.
If you haven’t renewed your membership yet, or need more information, please contact Colin Lewis, our administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need your ongoing support to continue with our work on the Code that benefits everyone.
The 2018 AGM will be held on Wednesday 28 November at Vector’s Offices in Newmarket, Auckland., starting at 9:30am. All full and associate members are invited to attend. To facilitate greater involvement in this year’s AGM the Board will be utilising Zoom online meeting technology, to allow remote, external attendance. Details on how to engage with this technology will be provided closer to the AGM date. In the meantime, you might want to pencil in the date in your diary now.
The 2018 AGM will see representation from the Rail Sector, LGNZ (large TLA), Electricity Sector, and Water Sector (represented by a Water Services Utility Operator) coming up for their two yearly renewal. Nominations are being requested from the appropriate sector bodies, for adoption at the AGM.
A formal call for remits in line with our rules will be made mid-October to all members.
The NZUAG Board will be putting forward a proposal to amend the constitution to clarify the membership requirements of organisations and bodies that have Board nominating rights. Details on what is being proposed will be included in the AGM papers.