Govt investing in infrastructure

Rangitata MP James Meager checks out the Rangitata mouth; Budget 2024 provides funding for stage...
Rangitata MP James Meager checks out the Rangitata mouth; Budget 2024 provides funding for stage two of the Rangitata flood and resilience works. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Budget 2024 delivered several highlights for South Canterbury in roading, infrastructure and investment in our waterways.

Headlining it all was our promise of tax relief for working South Cantabrians.

From July 31, you’ll keep more of what you earn as we shift tax brackets for the first time in 14 years. We’re also implementing our FamilyBoost policy to support childcare costs of middle-income families with young children, increasing the levels of the independent earner tax credit, as well as increasing Working for Families through the in-work tax credit.

This will mean different levels of tax relief for different families, so if you’re curious to find out how much more you keep in your pocket from July 31, go to calculator or Google ‘‘Budget 2024 tax calculator’’.

Almost half a million Kiwis have used the calculator to date. We’re encouraging as many as possible to find out how Budget 2024 supports them.

Along with tax relief, there were several key items I wanted to highlight for our region.

First, I was pleased to see the government’s investment of $7million into 11 catchment groups and collectives, including $625,000 for the Mackenzie Basin Catchment Collective, and $950,000 for the Ashburton Lakes Catchment Group Collective in Mid Canterbury.

We back farmers to improve land management practices and we believe in locally-led solutions for problems. Every catchment is different and we need local solutions for the local problems. This funding will help support local initiatives to improve water quality and biodiversity while allowing us to continue to produce the food and fibre the world demands.

Secondly, details of the $1.2b Regional Infrastructure Fund have been released, with an initial $200m in funding allocated to flood resilience infrastructure, including funding for stage two of the Rangitata flood and resilience works, and funding for the Waitarakao, Washdyke and Seadown floodworks.

Last week, I visited the Rangitata Huts to discuss some of the challenges with Cr Michelle Pye, and I have been engaged with coastal erosion issues in Seadown for a couple of years now. I am hopeful that this investment encourages agencies to accelerate the work with landowners and residents to future-proof those areas.

The Regional Infrastructure Fund will be a key course of government co-investment in core infrastructure vital to keeping people, goods and services moving over, under or through New Zealand. The fund will be fully opened on July 1 along with the criteria, and those involved in any significant infrastructure projects should consider talking with MBIE and Kānoa, the Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit.

Thirdly, Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced $1.8b for pothole repair and prevention, including $188,606,023 for Canterbury, which is a 38% increase. That’s alongside an extra billion dollars in land transport to accelerate the delivery of priority projects in the Government Policy Statement on land transport.

Budget 2024 shows we are committed to ongoing savings, and ongoing investment in delivering infrastructure and public services for New Zealanders.

 - James Meager is the MP for Rangitata and can be contacted at his South Canterbury office on (03)683-2009 or at Follow him on Facebook at