Infrastructure Plan outlines large programme

  • Bill English

The National Infrastructure Plan, issued today, shows the large scale of the Government's infrastructure programme and highlights some future issues that may require action, Infrastructure Minister Bill English says.

"This Government has increased investment in critical infrastructure including our roads, national grid and broadband," Mr English says.

"This programme is directly supporting thousands of jobs and contributing to a stronger economy, which over time will mean better wages and higher living standards for New Zealand families."

The first National Infrastructure Plan, put together by Treasury's National Infrastructure Unit, shows the Government is spending over $6 billion a year on physical assets and holds about $110 billion of such assets.

The plan, which has a 20-year horizon, is part of a range of work aimed at improving the Government's planning, decision-making and management of infrastructure in order to maximise economic benefits.

"The first National Infrastructure Plan is an important step towards better infrastructure management. Even a small improvement in this area could reap gains worth billions - making our infrastructure dollars go further and ensuring a better return for taxpayers."

The plan provides a snapshot of public and private infrastructure, planned investment and the Government's priorities.

"It gives infrastructure providers greater certainty about the Government's plans and ensures that planners and stakeholders have a clear sense of what is happening across a range of sectors," Mr English says.

It identifies bottlenecks in the roading and electricity sectors, but finds they are being addressed by increased investment.

It also identifies some future gaps and issues that might require action, including an additional Auckland Harbour crossing, the need for better alignment between central and local government planning and more investment in the most commercially viable parts of the rail network.

"The Government has already started planning work for an additional harbour crossing. We have also begun investing in key parts of the rail network and you can expect further announcements in this area throughout the year.

"The plan also says there are gaps in knowledge about the country's infrastructure needs 10-20 years out. Identifying these gaps will be a major focus of the next National Infrastructure Plan," Mr English says.

The full report is available at:

National Infrastructure Plan - key findings

  • The plan finds that New Zealand's infrastructure is generally sound.
  • It confirms that there are bottlenecks in roading and electricity, but these are being addressed by increased investment and changes to regulation.
  • While these bottlenecks exist, there are no obvious looming crises in the near term (five years), but there are some gaps in knowledge about the country's infrastructure needs 10-20 years out.
  • Identifying these gaps will be a major focus of the next report.
  • It notes the Government holds about $110 billion in physical assets and is spending about $6 billion a year on expansion or maintenance of these assets.
  • The plan sets out the Government's five key infrastructure priorities - broadband, electricity transmission, regulatory reform, roads of national significance and Rugby World Cup 2011.
  • An additional three emerging priorities are: reviewing the electricity market, agricultural irrigation and getting better procurement and management of the Government's physical assets.
  • It finds there is currently a large amount of planning across a range of sectors, but it is variable. Sectors covered include transport, energy, telecommunications, water, education, health and corrections.
  • It identifies some long-term issues that may require action, including:
  • o An additional Auckland Harbour crossing in the next 10-20 years.
  • o Better alignment between central and local government in the future to ensure priorities match up. The report says this is happening in Auckland, but there may need to be greater alignment in other regions.
  • o A need to replace some of the rail fleet to boost revenue growth on some routes. There is also likely to be increased demand for further investment in the Auckland and Wellington metro rail systems.

Key investments

  • State Highways: $10.7 billion over the next 10 years.
  • National grid: $3.3 billion over the next five years.
  • Urban broadband: $1.5 billion over the next 10 years.
  • New schools and buildings: $2.7 billion allocated over next five years.
  • Total Budget capital spending: $7.5 billion over five years.

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