One of the key ways we’re keeping New Zealand moving through our COVID-19 response is by investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects. No country is immune to the economic impact of COVID-19, but with targeted infrastructure projects throughout New Zealand, we are creating new jobs and ensuring our communities have the hospitals, schools, roads and clean energy they need for the future.
Our infrastructure investments are targeted both at shovel-ready projects, as well as long-term projects that help create certainty for our construction sector. One of the major shovel-ready infrastructure projects we’re supporting is the Hiringa Energy Hydrogen Refuelling Network, which will establish New Zealand’s first nationwide network of green hydrogen and create over 50 permanent jobs, over 100 contractor and vendor jobs, and an expected 300 jobs when fully rolled out. We’re also ready to begin construction for the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work (creating up to 750 construction jobs), and the Auckland City Mission HomeGround, which will build 80 social housing apartments and create 200 jobs in construction and 150 jobs when completed. Six new cycleways in Christchurch are ready to begin construction, and Blenheim’s Library/Art Gallery is also shovel-ready.
We’ve committed funding to a number of other key infrastructure projects, including new roads like Penlink, and Otaki to North of Levin, and redeveloping the Taranaki base Hospital. We’ve announced our lower-North Island shovel ready projects that will roll out over the next 18 months, which include the Sarjeant Gallery and a new Police Hub in Whanganui, the Marton Rail Hub, and social and affordable (key worker) housing for the Ruapehu District. Throughout New Zealand, we’ve committed to building 1,168 new or upgraded classrooms, and 8,000 new public and transitional housing places.
Already, a number of our infrastructure projects have been completed, including 174 kilometres of new roads and reopening the Napier to Wairoa Line. There are also 345 SIP/NZUP school projects, worth $22.9m underway or completed, and over 3,000 projects have been approved. Work is currently underway on 40 state highway projects, remediation at Auckland DHB, and the Hillside workshops.
If re-elected, Labour will continue rolling out more than $5 billion of infrastructure investment in the Lower North Island which will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in every community in the region. Budget 2020 forecasts that we will spend an extra $45 billion on infrastructure in the next five years: more than any previous five-year period.
We’ve managed the books wisely and have historically low interest rates, which makes our much-needed investment in infrastructure both affordable and the right thing to do. As a Government we will continue to invest our pipeline of infrastructure investments, alongside investing capital to our vital services like health and education.
An investment in infrastructure is an investment in jobs, an investment in people, and an investment in our future. It’s all part of our plan to keep New Zealand - and our economy - moving, as we rebuild together. You can read more about our plan here.