Week That Was: More jobs, better infrastructure

Investing in infrastructure is one major way we can create jobs, stimulate the economy, and keep New Zealand moving post COVID-19. That's why this week we rolled out a massive number of infrastructure announcements - in Tairāwhiti, Wairarapa, Otago, Southland and more!

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure

This week we were all over the country, announcing critical infrastructure projects that will boost regional economies and create hundreds of local jobs.

We're redeveloping an Olympic pool and Surf Lifesaving Club in Tairāwhiti, revamping an aerodrome in the Wairarapa, boosting flood protection in Otago and Southland, and upgrading community facilities like museums and public libraries in Gore, Clutha and Arrowtown.

We’re also fixing up the Homer Tunnel to make the drive between Te Anau and Piopiotahi Milford Sound safer, and we’re helping close to 1,500 people get work-ready with trades training in Dunedin.

These are only some of the many infrastructure projects we’ve announced, and all together, they’re going to create hundreds of local jobs and keep our economy moving post-COVID-19.

Backing small businesses

While we've now got one of the most open economies in the world, we know it remains a challenging time for businesses. We want more of them to be able to access professional advice to help grow and innovate as our economy continues to open up.

That's why we rolled out more support for small and medium-sized businesses this week, with more funding for the Regional Business Partners scheme - a business advice network.

The network provides free, practical support and advice for businesses to help them recover from the impact of COVID-19. Advice covers topics like business strategy, finance and cash flow, continuity planning, HR and employment relations, digital services, marketing, and health and wellness for owners and staff.

Over 6,200 businesses have already benefitted, and another 4,600 have registered.

We don’t underestimate the struggle small businesses are facing at the moment, and the pressures they are under, be they financial, supply chain, staffing or mental health. Our message to small businesses is clear: we've got your back. The best way to keep up the momentum of economic recovery, retain jobs, and adapt to the impacts of COVID-19 is if we all work together. 

Transitioning to clean energy

We’re also making Aotearoa a cleaner, greener place, by upgrading our public services to run on clean energy.

Our public sector took another important step towards a clean energy future this week, with support for the University of Canterbury, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand Defence Force, Inland Revenue, and MidCentral and Lakes District Health Boards to transition to clean energy.

These decarbonisation projects are replacing old, dirty coal boilers and chillers with low-emissions alternatives, helping New Zealand to move away from dependence on fossil fuels. All in all, these projects will reduce state sector carbon emissions by an estimated 14,730 tonnes annually. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 6,000 petrol vehicles off the road.

These projects are a hugely important part of the work this Government is doing to create jobs and tackle the climate crisis, and is another step towards ensuring climate-friendly energy solutions are a part of our everyday lives.

Planning for the future of COVID

Finally, the Prime Minister announced our plan for how we’ll react if there’s another case of COVID community transmission here in New Zealand.

Our strong borders, contact tracing and testing have served us well so far – but we know the fight isn’t over, and it’s important to have a plan at the ready.

Our key public health measures remain important for protecting ourselves and each other from the spread of disease - washing hands regularly and thoroughly, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and staying home if you'sick. It's also important to keep a digital diary of your whereabouts by downloading and using the COVID Tracer app.

In the event of community cases, rather than apply the alert level framework nationally, we would look to apply our Alert Level system at a localised or regional level in the first instance. Our priority will be to control any cases with the least intrusive measures, and over the smallest area we can. In practical terms, that means doing absolutely everything possible to avoid the entire country returning to Alert Levels 3 or 4 as a measure of last resort.

Ultimately, we will be guided by science and what we know works. Internationally, the evidence remains that going hard and early is the best way to stop the virus and ultimately delivers the best results for human health and the economy. We've done well so far and put ourselves in a strong position. Now, it's important to have a plan for the future to protect that position, no matter what comes our way.

As we continue the countdown to Election Day, we'll be bringing you the latest news and announcements - right here on our website and over on our Facebook page.

Look out for the next edition in this weekly series next Friday.