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Property Matters newsletter | December 2021

In this edition of Property Matters we sum up another busy year for the Government Property Group (GPG) and look forward to some exciting new initiatives coming up in 2022.

Kia tau aroha mo te wā – Best wishes for the season

It’s hard to believe that another year has passed and Christmas is rapidly approaching. What a year it has been. For Government Property Group it’s been a year of change – separating into a separate branch from New Zealand Government Procurement, and resetting our vision for the future. We’ve also been focused on building a strong foundation for our work and re-establishing our relationships with stakeholders, as well as steadily growing our team to allow us to provide agencies with guidance and leadership in this challenging new environment.

It’s important to note that Government Property Group isn’t flying solo in the work that we do and the work we’re planning to do. Our agency and stakeholder networks are critical to our success, and I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported our efforts this year for the valuable contributions and the generous mahi. We have a number of opportunities for our agencies to continue to provide us with their insights as we continue to shape the future of Property Functional Leadership. You can expect to hear from us in the New Year on these initiatives:

  • a revised Government National Property strategy, shaping the future of government office accommodation
  • a new and more user friendly Building Performance specification, bringing the baseline for government buildings into line with recent developments and government expectations
  • Property Knowledge Hours, where you can hear about current issues and opportunities, market/industry developments, lessons learned, and innovation, and
  • brand new digital tools, new guidance and templates, new capability programs, and much more!

Now what would Christmas be without some gifts? Well, it just so happens we have a fair few gifts under our virtual tree! We’ve highlighted a few below in our year in review.

Through all the successes and the challenges, one thing is certain - we wouldn’t be where we are without the efforts of everyone in our team, our agencies, and the market. While we might not quite be a team of 5 million, we’re certainly here to serve them, and it will take all our agencies to stand alongside us as we look towards the future for Government Property in 2022.

I’ll leave you with this whakatauki (proverb). Keep safe over the holiday period.

Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, kia tere te Kārohirohi i mua i tōu huarahi
May the calm be widespread, may the ocean glisten as greenstone, may the shimmer of light ever dance across your pathway.

Ngā mihi nui

Angela Xygalas
General Manager, Kaiwhakahaere for New Zealand Government Property (GPG)

Year in review

We’ve been working on some great initiatives in 2021. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Publication of the branding, wayfinding, and signage guidelines is imminent, providing agencies with a unified approach to Government branding and signage with an emphasis on accessibility, inclusivity, and cultural heritage. Thank you to everyone who provided us with their helpful and insightful feedback from our final round of consultation.
  • The Government Property Portal (GPP) has seen some massive overhauls. The team has been working hard to add new features and improve the user experience. We want the portal to become the one stop shop for all things property and allow for more data driven decisions to be made across all of government. Watch this space for more improvements coming your way.
  • Guidance for managing property workplaces during COVID-19 was published to provide agencies with up-to-date and practical guidance to help manage their workplaces across a changing environment. Access guidance on our COVID-19 property update – for agencies, webpage.
  • We’ve been continuing our work on the Carbon Neutral Government Programme (CNGP) with the introduction of NABERSNZ ratings, and supported several agencies with training sessions to get their first assessment underway.  NABERSNZ supports the Governments drive towards a more sustainable future, with higher NABERSNZ ratings resulting in less energy consumption and lower carbon emissions. Find out about more about the NABERSNZ rating system.
  • We’ve supported the introduction of sustainable building rating systems, with the Green Star building rating system being the first approved tool. Rating systems will assist agencies to focus on reducing embodied and operational carbon. The initiative targets non residential government owned buildings, with agencies encouraged to consider its use in large office accommodation projects. Read sustainable building standards for new government-owned non-residential buildings.
  • The regional hubs are still a focus for us. These hubs will provide regionally based office locations allowing for a more unified Public Service with agencies working together in workspaces designed to maximise collaboration opportunities.
  • Our very own Bruce Kenning (Manager of Property Planning and Advisory) was honoured with an FMANZ fellowship from the Facilities Management Association of New Zealand in recognition of his contribution to the profession.

What to look out for in 2022

  • More Government Property Portal enhancements, which will vastly improve the user experience, and provide the ‘one source of truth’ we have been aiming to deliver to the property system.
  • The introduction of a great time saving contract automation tool which will allow agencies to generate their own property documents, including an updated Deed of Lease and Agreement to Lease, as well as a broader suite of property documents.
  • Development of a property assurance function to create greater transparency and confidence around property investment decisions.

A refresh of the Government National Property strategy to establish a vision and direction that embraces Government expectations where property helps to power up the Public Service to achieve their service needs, enable innovation and productivity, and optimise property outcomes.

Ange (front left) with some of the Government Property Group team at an engagement survey and team workshop, 14 December 2021.

Energy efficient buildings

Updated information available online

As engagement with the NABERSNZ programme continues to grow, we’ve published a number of updates for you to check out on our website. They include:

  • links to the Carbon Neutral Government Programme (CNGP), Building for Climate Change Programme and NABERSNZ assessment costs
  • information on electric vehicle energy use and its exclusion from a NABERSNZ rating provided that a compliant electricity meter is being used
  • the timeframe for getting a NABERSNZ rating for agencies that own/lease office accommodation at or above 2,000m2 (December 2025)
  • clarification on the different assessment types and when to carry out each one

Disclosure of building ratings – NABERSNZ assessment form now available online

Agencies must disclose their energy ratings and also provide progress reports as part of the NABERSNZ assessment and under the CNGP. An unrated building has to go through the assessment process.

We collect information on agency building ratings using the NABERSNZ Assessment form and report the results to the CNGP Ministerial oversight group. The Government Property Portal (GPP) team manages this process.

More detailed information on NABERSNZ is available on our website under energy efficient buildings. The NABERSNZ assessment form can be found under the heading ‘Disclosure of building’ ratings.

Energy efficient buildings

Email the completed form to the Government Property Portal team and copy in your property portfolio specialist.

Valuable insights shared at Property Knowledge Hours

In the event of an attack: escape, hide, tell

Recent Property Knowledge Hours have provided expert advice and insight into current issues faced by agencies. Thank you to the speakers for delivering engaging and informative sessions to raise awareness on:  the Crowded places strategy and improving accessibility in our workplaces.

New Zealand’s crowded places strategy - protecting our crowded places from attack

With New Zealand’s recent experience of terror attacks, we were fortunate to have Inspector Brent Register from New Zealand Police talk about protecting our crowded places from attack: New Zealand’s strategy that was developed in response to the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019.

Download the crowded places strategy from the New Zealand Police website

If ever caught in an attack: the New Zealand Police want people to “Escape. Hide. Tell”. This is similar to public alert advice to “Drop. Cover. Hold” in the event of an earthquake.

Learn more about what to do in the event of an attack on the New Zealand Police website

Improving accessibility in the workplace

The Ministry of Social Development, Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) shared their knowledge and experience with agencies on improving accessibility in the workplace. They talked about workplace challenges faced by disabled people and the value of using consultative processes and applying universal design practices to remove barriers.

Read more about improving accessibility in the workplace 

To improve accessibility elements within the Government Property Group workplace design guidelines, Government Property Group is working alongside the We Enable Us working group. This is a Public Sector network providing leadership on effective and inclusive employment of disabled people in the Public Sector.

Learn more about We Enable us on the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora website

Branding, wayfinding and signage guidance for government buildings

We received a lot of helpful and insightful feedback from our final round of consultation on the Government Property Group branding, wayfinding and signage guidance for government buildings. Thank you to everyone who provided us with their feedback.

The finalised guidance will be available to agencies in the New Year.

Environmental scan of the government property system

As part of our work on the Government National Property Strategy, we’re taking a system-wide look into the key influences and areas that are relevant from a government property portfolio context, for example, the potential impacts from COVID-19, market trends (nationally and internationally), consultation on a new policy for the government management of cultural heritage, and the establishment of new crown agencies.

We are really keen to make sure that this is targeted to the wider needs of our agencies, so we’d love to get your input the areas you’d like to be included in the scope. Send us your suggestions by Friday 17 December, email the Government Property team.

Government Property Portal enhancements

The Government Property Portal upgrade

New Year, new you! Early in 2022, Government Property Portal is getting a facelift. The technical changes we are making to the portal will:

  • deliver a cleaner look with a more intuitive user interface
  • enable more digital experience
  • provide access to other modules covering sustainability and risk

We’re planning a number of sessions with agencies to showcase the new look Government Property Portal closer to the go-live date.

Piloting space management tools

No, Government Property Group isn’t planning to partner with NASA, but we are looking at piloting a leading workspace management tool. We know the workplace is evolving quickly, so this is an opportunity to keep up to date with workplace management technology and software.

We’re working with a small group of agencies on a proof of concept to help us land on a solution which will hopefully see us adding another digital tool to our toolkit soon.

Government Property Group capability project – using a base-line assessment to create change

One of our key initiatives for 2021/22 is to determine how we can increase the capability of the government property system. We have developed and tested a Property Maturity Model (PMM) with a few agencies and are now ready to start gathering information from the wider sector. The results will help us understand the areas that we can focus on that will make the most difference. 

We are using two different types of survey to gather information from agencies depending on their size:

  • A PMM survey will be used to collect feedback from large and medium agencies
  • A SurveyMonkey survey will be used to collect feedback from smaller agencies

Very soon we will email all primary property points of contact with a request to complete a survey on behalf of their agency.

If you have any questions, email the Government Property team.

Upcoming development opportunities

As part of our ongoing commitment to increasing the capability of our people, all government agency property professionals can now access Hīkina (our online learning platform).

Register an account with or log on to the Hīkina - Learning for Government Procurement and Property.

Hīkina - Learning for Government Procurement and Property

As a registered user of the website you will have immediate access to:

  • previous property knowledge hours
  • a wide range of online eLearning courses eg Cultural Competency and Demystifying Procurement

You will also be able to register for workshops via Hīkina.

We will add more training modules early in the New Year along with updates in our newsletter when new training becomes available.