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 recently 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.
The Ministers also announced a range of projects that are receiving funding to highlight the broad range of infrastructure being invested in across various 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,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.
“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.
“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 (IRG) 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 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 says.
“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 (CRRF) 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 says the pipeline of projects would create immediate economic activity in the metropolitan centres as well as the regions.
“Both are critical to our economic and social recovery from the Covid-19 crisis,” Jones says.
“Not only has this massive undertaking provided us with the largest stocktake of infrastructure projects we’ve ever had, but it’s enabled us to partner with central and local government, the private sector, and community groups to deliver projects for all Kiwis.
“The specific projects we’re announcing are examples of the sort of projects we’re supporting — from nationwide investments in flood protection and better digital connectivity to civic facilities that we know form the bedrock of our communities.
“I am extremely proud of the depth and breadth of this unprecedented piece of work,” Jones says.
Approximate regional funding is:
Auckland Region: $500 million
Bay of Plenty Region: $170 million
Canterbury: $300 million
East Coast: $106 million
Hawke’s Bay: $130 million
Manawatu/Whanganui: $140 million
Northland: $150 million
Otago: $260 million
Southland: $90 million
Taranaki: $85 million
Top of the South: $85 million
Waikato: $150 million
Wellington region: $185 million
West Coast: $90 million
About $400 million has been set aside as a contingency as the Government takes a responsible approach to managing spending on behalf of taxpayers.
Funds not required in the contingency will be put towards further infrastructure projects, providing an incentive for local councils to deliver the approved projects on time and on budget, as this would unlock a further potential $400 million of investment.
Note: All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.
Further announcements on project details will be made over coming weeks.