NPDC investment in core infrastructure a major factor
Infrastructure investment has been identified as a key economic driver in the region, with $1.65 spent in the Taranaki economy for every $1 invested by NPDC, a new report from Berl says.
The independent analysis agency has looked at the economic value of NPDC’s infrastructure assets including its water service and recycling collection accommodating some 28,500 homes and the district’s 1,300 kilometres of roads.
It invests more than $76 million every year on infrastructure including $40.5m on the drinking, waste and storm water networks (called the Three Waters network), $25.7m on roads and $10.4m on rubbish and recycling.
New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says NPDC was already spending an additional $44m over the next decade on the Three Waters network but the Berl analysis highlighted the need for continued investment in core infrastructure.
“Berl’s report shows that we are on the right track putting the focus on improving our core infrastructure, investing in our roads, water, wastewater and stormwater networks to provide a strong platform for economic activity in the district. This is very much a long-term issue and we will continue to look at how we can continue to invest more while ensuring value for money for ratepayers. Each year NPDC invests about $390 for every property in the district on Three Waters network but it’s down compared to other similar sized councils around New Zealand who invest about $660.”
The report also highlighted NPDC’s focus on going Zero Waste with efforts to cut down what is thrown away and boost recycling and reusing with the opening of The Junction facility and plans to help businesses with a new commercial waste facility.
The Berl report by the numbers
• Berl found there was $126m spent in the region’s economy as a result of the NPDC investment each year.
• Berl estimated that NPDC’s investment on infrastructure directly employed 326 fulltime equivalent workers (FTEs) while the additional spending related to that investment led to 619 FTEs.
• It would cost an estimated $925m to replace the district’s Three Waters infrastructure and $470m to replace the roads.
• There are 1,600 kilometres of pipes and their average age is 38 years. This is six years older than the average for other councils.
• Berl said the primary sector, road freight and logistics and construction and engineering all relied on the district’s road network. These three sectors generate $2.6 billion a year in GDP - about 68% of the district’s total - and employ more than half of the district’s workers.