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Infrastructure Sector Positive About National Party Transport Policy

The infrastructure sector has welcomed the National Party’s transport policy, which signals vital progress on projects across our cities and regions.

Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Nick Leggett, says that while the projects announced are much-needed, the most significant announcement is the promise of an introduction of new funding tools that “could reshape Aotearoa New Zealand - and improve the speed and quality of our infrastructure build.”

“Given the scale of what New Zealand has to do in terms of building its infrastructure, it’s obvious the Government cannot fund all projects by itself. We are excited to see opportunities for external partnerships in order to provide the funding for our necessary nation building infrastructure. The tools to support this include tolling, equity finance and value capture – the introduction of which is long overdue. These will allow us to build quality infrastructure, secure the necessary medium-to-long-term pipeline and allow the costs of growth to fall more equitably on those who will benefit from it.”

Infrastructure New Zealand says better funding and a guarantee of projects will help New Zealand build up its onshore expertise and a future labour force to construct the infrastructure the country requires.

“New Zealand is on a decarbonisation journey and it’s important that public transport features strongly in any infrastructure agenda. Any arguments over bus versus train should be avoided. What we need is sustainable funding and financing arrangements to get housing-enabling high quality public transport built in Auckland and Wellington. We see the opportunity for this with National’s policy.”

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Nick Leggett says the proposed National Infrastructure Agency would fulfill an important coordination role and would work to “de-politicise” aspects of infrastructure by taking a more independent lens to decisions.

The announcement’s commitment to extending the investment horizon for the National Land Transport Programme is also a welcome improvement, which will increase certainty for local councils and the sector.

“Overall, New Zealand must project a longer-term vision for infrastructure so that we can build the country we want to become. It is important that we refrain from the knee-jerk, poorly funded and politically driven environment that has characterised transport policymaking over the last few decades.”

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