Fixing the infrastructure deficit

High quality, modern, resilient infrastructure is the foundation of a successful economy.

We rely on it to enhance our lives and boost productivity, which in turn drives economic growth. But right now New Zealand has a gaping deficit.

The infrastructure momentum of the last National Government was stopped short in 2017.

Our National Roads of Significance programme which delivered the Waikato Expressway, Tauranga Eastern Link, Kapiti Expressway and Christchurch motorways projects, was set to construct even more.

But it wasn’t only roads.

National also rolled out New Zealand’s ultra-fast broadband network — a project that ran on time, was under budget and gave the country access to world-class broadband including many rural communities and their schools.

Rural NZ knows what it means to have resilient networks for getting products and people where they need to go. As food producers, or suppliers of goods and services to agribusinesses, first-rate infrastructure is essential.

Delivering that is at the heart of a new five-point plan under the next National Government.

Our first priority is to expand Crown Infrastructure Partners into a National Infrastructure Agency to co-ordinate the various funds that exist; and secondly, make use of innovative funding and financing tools to boost investment.

Thirdly is the development of national, city and regional deals, so central government can partner with local government, to create long term conduits for regional projects.

Alongside these will be a fast-track consents process to make it building infrastructure easier, and finally, developing a 30-year plan for long-term certainty, effective planning, and in turn reduce project costs.

Building infrastructure is key to a strong economy.

Only then can we reduce the cost of living, interest rates, lift incomes and afford the public services we all deserve.