As we work to secure New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19, we’re focused on building the infrastructure we need for the future – supporting quality jobs for Kiwis and strengthening our economy at the same time.
Thanks to our decisive response to COVID, our economy is in a much stronger position than that of many other countries. In New Zealand, more people are in work, fewer people are on main benefits, and unemployment has fallen to an all-time low.
We know the global pandemic will continue to present challenges in the months ahead. To weather this uncertainty, we’ll continue to manage the economy responsibly, carefully targeting investments that not only create jobs but also set us up for a stronger future.
One way we’re doing this is by committing $57.3 billion to infrastructure projects across Aotearoa in the next five years – a record investment that will create local jobs, boost our economy, and drive our recovery. It will also ensure we have the hospitals, schools, and transport networks we need for the future.
This work has already started, and big projects are rolling out in communities across the motu. We’ve injected more than $2 billion into regional jobs, businesses and infrastructure through our Kānoa funds alone, investing in improvements to rail networks, water systems, and healthcare centres, and backing initiatives to deliver cleaner energy. This includes upgrades to community hubs like marae, which have gone on to play a vital role in our COVID response as testing and vaccination centres.
Large-scale projects currently under way include the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt, which has already created dozens of jobs and, when finished, will be a world-class sport science hub; the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre, which is expected to employ more than 100 people; and the new purpose-built trades training centre at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, which has already created 46 jobs and is expected to create upward of 100 more.
These are just some of the job-rich projects funded through our infrastructure programme. Our COVID recovery plan and investment in construction is also paying off in the housing sector, with a record number of new homes consented between September this year and last – and a record proportion of first-home buyers entering the market.
Of course, we’re not only investing in infrastructure – we’re also making sure we have the skilled workforce we need to get the job done. More than 170,000 people have taken up our free apprenticeships and targeted trades training since we introduced the initiative last year. This, alongside support for employers to keep their apprentices on, has seen record numbers of apprentices join the building and construction sector. It’s not only good for our rebuild and recovery – it’s also giving Kiwis of all ages the opportunity to gain new skills, and setting them up with steady careers.
Investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects is just one of the ways we’re securing our COVID recovery. Whether it’s upgrading schools, creating jobs to protect our environment, lifting incomes to tackle child poverty, or supporting people to get the training they need, we’re taking this opportunity to build back better and ensure our recovery leaves no one behind.
You can read more about our priorities and our COVID recovery here.