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Housing Infrastructure Fund welcome but much more is needed

11 July 2017
Housing Infrastructure Fund welcome but much more is needed

"The Government’s $1 billion financing of much needed growth infrastructure is very welcome, but infrastructure requirements nationwide are now in the tens of billions and better planning, funding and delivery systems are required to meet the challenge," says Infrastructure New Zealand's Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.

"The Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) is a helpful component of the Government’s housing response. The allocation of government debt to New Zealand’s fastest growing regions will improve the supply of serviced land where it is most needed.

"Today's announcement combined with recent budget commitments to infrastructure investment is positive but a lot more is required.

"Analysis by the Office of the Auditor General consistently shows that councils across New Zealand are struggling to maintain and renew existing assets, let alone provide for growth.

"In Auckland there is a $400 to $700 million transport funding gap that must be bridged, and a 7000 home construction deficit accumulating every year. Against that, the 10,500 homes announced this morning will add just 1000 homes a year.

"Addressing infrastructure challenges which sit at the heart of New Zealand’s housing supply issues demands more than one-off loans.

"The private sector is going to need to step up and for this to happen there needs to be certainty that public infrastructure will be funded and delivered in a timely way.

"A clear and committed pipeline of projects will give infrastructure and home construction companies the confidence to invest in resources needed.

"Government plans for Urban Development Agencies must also be accelerated. This could unlock opportunities for urban development at scale where development is master planned to integrate fully with transport and infrastructure services.

"New transport funding tools like road tolls are needed sooner rather than later.

"We desperately need to improve governance and streamline our planning and decision making processes. The current approach to planning, funding and delivery of housing and infrastructure is not working.

"While the HIF and budget allocations help in the short term, a longer term response which addresses the failed planning, governance and funding system in New Zealand is urgently needed," Selwood says.

ENDS

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