Infrastructure for a better tomorrow

The Chris Hipkins Government is investing in infrastructure today to set New Zealand up for tomorrow.

We know that an investment in infrastructure is an investment in jobs, people and our future. It’s all part of our plan to keep New Zealand – and our economy – moving forward.

The floods and cyclones New Zealand experienced earlier this year and their impact on our communities are a sharp reminder of how important our infrastructure is to people’s lives – especially when it’s not working.

That’s why our Government has committed a record $71 billion of investment over the next five years to build the infrastructure backbone and the schools, hospitals and public housing New Zealanders rely on and to help grow the economy.

This is on top of the $45 billion we’ve spent in the past five years and the $3.6 billion set aside to date in the Climate Emergency Response Fund.

Estimates from Treasury have put the cost of asset damage from the floods and cyclone alone at between $9 billion and $14.5 billion.

Half of this relates to ‘public infrastructure’ – assets owned by central and local government – and so we’re setting aside $6 billion to build back better and make sure our infrastructure can stand up to the increasingly severe and unpredictable weather events and protect New Zealanders.

The initial focus of investments over the next three years will be on future-proofing road, rail and local infrastructure wiped out by the extreme weather as well as phone and electricity links.

But despite our Government’s record investments, there’s more work to do. Being smarter about the way we plan and deliver infrastructure is critical if we are to meet the infrastructure deficit and deliver the infrastructure New Zealanders need now and into the future.

Government needs to do more to work with business to plan and deliver world-class infrastructure that mitigates and adapts to changes to the climate.

Our partnership with NZ Steel to remove 800,000 tonnes of carbon pollution a year is another example of our commitment to that approach. 

Our commitment to growing the skilled workforce of tomorrow is another example. Infrastructure investment requires a long-term pipeline and skills, which is why we’ve supported 240,000 New Zealanders with free apprenticeships and trades training.

The previous National-led Government made large fanfare announcing a number of unfunded roads, which they never started, while leaving the rest of our infrastructure chronically lacking in investment. We’re getting the job done: faster, better, and – most importantly – paid for.

We’ve been able to do all of this by carefully managing the Government’s books, which means we can give New Zealanders certainty that we have the financial resilience to make these investments.

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