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Progress on multi-billion dollar infrastructure plan

Progress on multi-billion dollar infrastructure plan

The National State of Infrastructure Report published today shows the benefits of the Government’s commitment to major infrastructure projects New Zealand needs to build a competitive and productive economy, Finance Minister Bill English says.

This is the second annual progress report prepared by the National Infrastructure Unit within the Treasury.

“The Government recognises the importance that infrastructure plays in the New Zealand economy, especially in moving people, freight and information around our country and to our international markets,” Mr English says.

“This commitment has seen a large scale investment programme, major overhauls and reviews of policy and regulations, and a more coordinated and joined up plan to best deliver our long term infrastructure needs.

“The Government’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment over recent years has also supported thousands of jobs across New Zealand.”

The report shows progress across all infrastructure sectors. Large investments have been made in the electricity transmission network, the roll out of ultra-fast broadband, major transport projects including the roads of national significance, the establishment of the Crown Irrigation Investment Company and the KiwiRail turnaround plan.

A significant national land transport programme has ensured a large number of regional roading projects have been completed or are underway.

“The Government is also committed to ensuring regulations and processes for infrastructure projects provide adequate scrutiny and protection,” Mr English says. “The framework needs to be flexible and efficient.

“This includes the streamlined consenting process that has been used so far for 13 large, nationally significant projects, regulatory reviews in the telecommunications sector, freshwater reforms and the work programme to improve housing affordability.

“The Government recognises that it will take time to bring about all change required, but we are pleased with progress towards the direction set out in the National Infrastructure Plan.

“This is reflected in improved discussions and an increased willingness to work across government agencies, local government and the private sector. Recent examples include announcements of the first 11 special housing areas in recent weeks and the leadership local government is showing in better understanding and managing water assets and supplies.”

Mr English says more private sector involvement in delivering public infrastructure is important in achieving better investment outcomes during both the construction phase and over the life of the assets.

“The public-private partnership model is one way of doing this and we are pleased to see more PPP projects underway or in the planning stages. They allow better allocation of risk between the public and private sectors, leading to better outcomes and reduced cost.”

Mr English acknowledged the National Infrastructure Advisory Board’s role in developing the 2013 National State of Infrastructure Report.

“Delivering the infrastructure New Zealand needs for the future is not only about smart investment in new infrastructure, but also making the best use of our existing infrastructure.”

At a glance – infrastructure programme highlights*

National Land Transport Fund, including Roads of National Significance and regional roading projects - $5.9 billion.
Rebuilding Christchurch, including horizontal infrastructure - $3 billion.
Health sector, including DHB facilities and equipment and the redevelopment of Christchurch and Burwood hospitals - $1.7 billion.
Transpower and national electricity grid - $1.2 billion.
Education sector, including 21st Century Schools and the rebuild of the education network in greater Christchurch - $900 million.
Housing sector, including state housing refurbishments and modernisation - $690 million.
Ultra-fast broadband network - $430 million.
Rail infrastructure, including KiwiRail turnaround plan and commuter rail upgrades for Auckland and Wellington - $550 million.
Irrigation acceleration fund - $18 million.
Establishing the Crown Irrigation Investments Company - an initial budget allocation of $80 million.

* 2012/13 and 2013/14 financial years

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