An innovative approach to funding infrastructure

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 10, 2020

The next National Government will take a new approach to delivering the infrastructure New Zealand desperately needs by creating a new National Infrastructure Bank.

National Party Leader Judith Collins announced the policy on Wednesday.

“A key part of National‘s plan to deal with the current economic and jobs crisis is to deliver world-class infrastructure that grows our economy and gets Kiwis back to work.

“To do that we have to invest, and every dollar borrowed must be spent wisely on projects that improve our economy and build productivity.”

The new Crown Financial Institution, named the National Infrastructure Bank, will combine several existing entities into a single, professional agency that provides finance and advice to central and local government infrastructure projects.

Entities that will be consolidated to form the National Infrastructure Bank are:

  • Crown Infrastructure Partners

  • New Zealand Green Investment Finance Limited

  • Residual holdings at Crown Irrigation Investments Limited

  • Loans made by the Provincial Growth Fund

  • Other loan portfolios across the Crown balance sheet where appropriate.

Collins says the National Infrastructure Bank will offer an avenue for institutional investors such as ACC, NZ Super Fund, iwi, KiwiSaver providers and Australian pension funds to take on investment risk in New Zealand infrastructure assets.

“The government I lead will invest in New Zealand‘s largest ever infrastructure programme, including $31 billion to upgrade our transport networks and de-clog our cities, $4.8 billion to fix our schools, and further investment to upgrade healthcare infrastructure.”

National‘s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says the infrastructure bank will provide clear lines of accountability to not only ensure value for money, but also deliver tangible assets that underpin future development in the form of better resourced schools, health services, roads, water provisions and housing.

National‘s Infrastructure spokesperson Chris Bishop says the Labour Government has taken a clumsy and incompetent approach to infrastructure investment.

“Just look at the Provincial Growth Fund, the lack of delivery in the Green Investment Fund and the lack of clarity over shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Loans have been paid out with no plan or purpose.

“Our infrastructure bank will act as a careful steward of our infrastructure programme, providing vital leadership and capability in the public sector as these intergenerational assets are developed.”

Funding for the bank would come from a consolidation of baseline funding from the various entities, including $8 million from Crown Infrastructure Partners and $5 million per annum for the Green Investment Fund. Full costings would be decided following the final operational design.