Building back better

It’s a three-week recess in Parliament – so, no bills are going through the House and no select committees are meeting. But the hard work of our ministers continues, and many of our MPs are back in their electorates, taking the opportunity to meet with local communities and businesses about how we can continue to support them as we secure our recovery.

Our plan to invest in infrastructure, create jobs, and boost our economy is rolling out across the country. Here are a few snapshots of what our team has been up to, as we work to ensure that Aotearoa comes out of the pandemic stronger than ever.

We turned out in Blenheim to see the great progress on their beautiful new library and art gallery, co-funded through the COVID Response and Recovery Fund’s allocation for shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni attended, alongside other MPs.

The Prime Minister, along with Associate Minister for Housing (Māori) Peeni Henare and local MPs, celebrated the opening of 18 brightly painted affordable homes in Palmerston North, and the 10 more due in October. The Papaioea Place redevelopment was also backed by the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, and will support up to 70 jobs.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and local MP Jamie Strange checked out a section of Te Awa River Ride in Tamahere. This walking and cycling path, once complete, will stretch 70 kilometres along the banks of the Waikato River, from Ngaruawahia to Horahora. The trail extension and improvements have been made possible by investment from our shovel-ready fund and through the Provincial Development Unit, creating dozens of jobs.

They also stopped by the Ruakura Inland Port development site, which is receiving $40 million from the shovel-ready fund. Once complete, this site will be a freight super-hub as well as a business, research, and residential development for the Waikato. This project alone will create 250 jobs, getting Kiwis into work and accelerating our economic recovery.

Transport Minister Michael Wood, along with local MPs Liz Craig and Rachel Brooking, were down south to see how upgrades to central Queenstown are going. Government has invested tens of millions of shovel-ready funds into Queenstown as part of our COVID recovery, supporting the local construction sector and helping to create more than 300 direct jobs.

Manurewa MP Arena Williams visited the Manukau Health Park, which is receiving more than $215 million from the Government for its SuperClinic redevelopment. This investment will build a new spinal rehabilitation unit, new theatres and outpatient spaces, a new radiology hub and integrated breast care service, and an expanded dialysis service – ensuring more Kiwis are able to get the care they need, when and where they need it. With construction set to start before the end of the year, the project will also create jobs for local people, accelerating our economic recovery.

Minister Nash visited a shovel-ready project in the Hawke’s Bay to mark the start of construction. Around 300 people will be employed in the expansion of the Pettigrew Arena in Taradale. This project will increase the indoor court space significantly, meaning that large tournaments can be hosted. Construction and service sectors will see a boost, as will local tourism providers, and accommodation and hospitality businesses. It’s part of our strategy to invest in our regions, strengthening communities by building local economies.

And we’ve hit an all-time high of building and construction apprentices in training, at 20,000! Our free trades training has seen more than 144,000 people upskill since we made it available last year, helping industry by filling skill gaps, creating employment opportunities, and securing our economic recovery from COVID. Education Minister Chris Hipkins visited a construction site in Wellington to mark the occasion.

On the subject of training – Minister and local MP David Clark visited the site of Otago Polytechnic’s new three-level, purpose-built training centre for the building and construction trades. This shovel-ready project, co-funded through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, will create up to 200 jobs. The centre, once complete, will offer modern learning facilities and increased capacity, helping to ensure we have the skilled workforce we need to accelerate our recovery.

Tukituki MP Anna Lorck visited the site of Hawke’s Bay’s new aquatic centre – a shovel-ready project (funded through our COVID infrastructure fund) that will create more than 100 full-time jobs and support hundreds of others. The centre will boast a deep-water Olympic pool, and is part of a wider health and fitness complex that includes a hostel to support youth in trades training. 

Minister Kiri Allan is back at work and has been celebrating the progress of the Ōpōtiki Harbour development (and its recognition at the Local Government Awards). The game-changing project will revitalise the region, create around 1,850 jobs, and unlock new industries. It’s funded through the New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

These are just some of the many construction and development projects rolling out across the country. We’re investing $57.3 billion in infrastructure over the next four years – creating jobs, boosting local economies, and securing our recovery from COVID-19. This programme will ensure we have the hospitals, schools, and transport networks we need for the future.

And we’re also strengthening our workforce, to make sure we have the skilled workers we need to get the job done – with free apprenticeships and trades training, and support for employers to keep their apprentices on. Check out our recovery by the numbers here.

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