Asset Management Study tour (in New Zealand)

The Bicacon delegation received a warm MWH office welcome from the MWH Global representatives at the MWH New Zealand office in Auckland on the 4th August 2014.

After the welcome reception, study tour business commenced with a visit to the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise in conjunction with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two government departments extended the welcome to New Zealand with a Maori native tribe welcome where the Bicacon Chairman was blessed by a Maori native tribe chief.

The schedule picked up pace on day one as the delegation met with Robin Spittle from the MWH Global’s Hydro & Energy Capability division. He discussed MWH Global’s involvement in the Hydro Power and Energy sector worldwide and their interest in partnering with Bicacon in Hydro Power Projects in Africa.
On day two, the delegation flew to Wellington for meetings with the New Zealand Treasury. Several sessions were held with New Treasury mainly centred on the National Infrastructure Plan including discussions on asset management and data standards in New Zealand as well as the Better Business Case (BBC). In the afternoon the delegation had a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer for New Zealand Water, Mr Murray Gibb, who outlined the water scenario in New Zealand, the challenges faced and reforms that are taking place in the water sector in New Zealand. The last point of call for the day was a meeting with Lucas Carrick, a Senior Economist for the ANZ Bank, who gave an economic analysis of New Zealand.

Day three was reserved for an Asset Management workshop with the “Godfather of Asset Management” – Brian Sharplin. The workshop discussed Bicacon’s asset management capabilities, MWH’s asset management capabilities and past experiences in asset management planning, MWH’s interests and its potential to assist Bicacon in its projects.

On day four the delegation flew back to Wellington for meetings with the Chief executive Officer for the Local Government of New Zealand (LGNZ), Malcom Alexander. Malcom took the delegation through the involvement of LGNZ in infrastructure development and its support initiatives for asset management in New Zealand. The next meeting was a very interesting discussion with the Local Government Sector Manager, Andrea Neame, at the Office of the Auditor General New Zealand (New Zealand Rugby House). She outlined how the OAG in New Zealand was now auditing local government performance (levels of service based) on long terms plans as opposed to focussing on the physical assets. She also dealt on the challenges that the OAG faces in auditing infrastructure assets from a finance background.

From the OAG, the delegation had a brief meeting with Tania Williams – MWH New Zealand General Manager for Water & Wastewater. Partnerships in the Water & wastewater projects between Bicacon & MWH were discussed with Tania. The final meeting for the day in Wellington was with the team from the Ministry of Environment led by Elspeth McIntyre.

The final day was in Auckland. The day started with a meeting with in the office to get feedback on the tour and also to meet with Andrew Caseley (MWH Director) and Ralph Fouche for an official MWH farewell. After that the delegation met with a team from Hawkins – a leading player in the New Zealand construction space. Partnership arrangements were discussed for specialised construction projects in Africa and Hawkins expressed great interest in partnering with Bicacon. The Hawkins team was led by their Regional Manager Seth Pardoe, next up was a meeting with Stephen Selwood from the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development (NZCID).

The tour culminated with a detailed discussion of the Department of Water Affairs Asset Management Planning Project, the proposed project approach as well as the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Bicacon & MWH Global as well the Sub-Consultancy agreement for the Department of Water Affairs Project.

The tour was overall a success and we hoped that the partnership between MWH Global and Bicacon will yield positive results for both companies and will open up business avenues for Bicacon & MWH worldwide.