Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start Covid rebuild

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 1, 2020

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-Covid rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones have outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the Covid Response and Recovery Fund will be allocated across regions, following extensive engagement with local councils and businesses.

They also announced a range of projects that are receiving funding to highlight the broad range of infrastructure being invested in across New Zealand communities.

The investment package includes about $210 million for climate resilience and flood protection projects, $155 million for transformative energy projects, about $180 million for large-scale construction projects and $50 million for enhanced regional digital connectivity.

“This is about creating jobs as we recover and rebuild from the recession caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Because we went hard and early with our health response, we‘ve been able to open up the economy quicker than other countries and get a head start on our recovery,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

“The overall package is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion. Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus.”

Earlier this year, Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the Covid-19 rebuild.

The IRG received a total of 1924 submissions across approximately 40 sectors of the economy. Those submissions were scrutinised under criteria set by the government and a shortlist of 802 projects presented to Ministers.

Cabinet has now made initial decisions about key sectors it would like to support and general regional distribution of funds, with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principal. Officials are now undertaking final due diligence to ensure projects are viable and offer the benefits stated by applicants.

“We have focused on key sectors that are central to the government‘s economic plan – housing and urban development, climate resilience, energy and community development,” Robertson said.

“This package will provide Kiwis with confidence that the government is backing them in this challenging economic environment by creating new jobs and opportunities in communities around the country.”

The Covid Response and Recovery Fund set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Cabinet‘s initial decisions on this allocation include:

  • Housing and urban development: $464m

  • Environmental: $460m

  • Community and social development: $670m

  • Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m

The projects are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said the pipeline of projects would create immediate economic activity in the metropolitan centres as well as the regions.