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Brash announces Minister of Infrastructure

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader
18 August 2005

Brash announces Minister of Infrastructure

National Party Leader Don Brash says a National Government will appoint a Minister of Infrastructure to oversee and help push through vital infrastructure development.

Dr Brash made the announcement when launching National’s energy policy in Hamilton.

“For the past six years, New Zealand’s main infrastructure development has been piecemeal and haphazard, and this has hindered economic development and future planning. These shortcomings were highlighted in KPMG’s recent infrastructure audit.

“New Zealand’s long-term needs and future economic growth are directly tied to our ability to access the energy required to fuel that growth, and good roads. Labour has ignored these needs, but National will not.

“National’s Minister of Infrastructure will be responsible for taking an overview of development to ensure works vital to our economy are progressed in a timely, co-ordinated and cost-effective fashion.

“The Minister will take a proactive role in ensuring departments and ministers in areas like transport, energy, communications, building issues, environment, railways and airways are working together to get jobs done.”

The Infrastructure Minister will have an overview of National’s rewriting of the Resource Management Act, which has forced vital roading and energy projects to be delayed or abandoned because of impossible compliance provisions and cost over-runs.

“National is committed to substantial reform of the RMA. These reforms are critical to addressing the roading and electricity crisis. The rise in electricity consumption over the past 10 years has outstripped the rise in generating capacity, so we need more generation and more transmission lines. We need them before the lights go out again. And getting consent to build a road now often takes longer than it does to build the road. That is nuts.

“The RMA reforms are also important in attracting investment in industries like forestry and reducing compliance costs for farms and small business,” Dr Brash says.

National will establish an Environmental Protection Authority that will develop national environmental standards and policy statements.

The position of Infrastructure Minister will be cost-neutral. There will be no new department or staff. The Minister will take advice from existing ministers and departments, like Treasury and the Ministry of Economic Development.

ENDS

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