H&P Times Column - National announces Infrastructure for the Future Policy

Last week, National announced our Infrastructure for the Future plan, to address the historical infrastructure deficit we have in New Zealand and better prepare for the future.

National has a strong track record of delivering major infrastructure, with the last National Government responsible for the ultra-fast fibre rollout, major roading projects with the Roads of Significance programme, like the Waikato Expressway, and the electrification of the Auckland rail network.

Meanwhile, under Labour, infrastructure projects have been delayed or cancelled across the board, with no major transport projects started and completed since Labour came to office in 2017.

Recent events like Cyclone Gabrielle and the citywide train cancellations in Auckland and Wellington have demonstrated just how important it is to have resilient, safe and properly maintained infrastructure.

All Labour has done for six years is waste money on expensive vanity projects that don’t actually benefit the vast majority of people, and waste money on consultants for things that never go ahead, like the Auckland harbour cycleway.

National’s plan will encourage much needed investment and ensure long-term planning is undertaken to provide certainty for our communities.

A National government would make use of funding and financing vehicles like public-private partnerships and tolls to boost private sector investment in infrastructure, as we know that central government alone can’t address the infrastructure deficit.

We will establish national, city, and regional “deals”. These agreements will be long-term programmes of investment between regional and central government, spanning transport, housing and other investments.

We will also introduce a fast-track process and establish a class of projects known as Major Infrastructure Priorities, which will require decisions within one year if referred by the Minister for Infrastructure.

Finally, National will create a 30-year infrastructure pipeline and plan for New Zealand covering all infrastructure sectors, overseen by the Infrastructure Commission. This will give much-needed certainty to industry and make it easier to plan and drive efficiencies.

It is time for us to get on top of the infrastructure challenges we are facing as a country and to support our country to grow and thrive. If elected this year, National has a plan to do just that.