Govt reveals how infrastructure fund will be spent

Finance Minister Grant Robertson (front) with Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones. Image: RNZ
Finance Minister Grant Robertson (front) with Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones. Image: RNZ
The Government has announced a $3 billion infrastructure fund that will help create more than 20,000 jobs post Covid-19.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how $3 billion in the Covid Response and Recovery Fund will be allocated across the regions.

They said the investment package included 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," Robertson said.

He said the overall package was 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 a total of 1924 submissions across approximately 40 sectors of the economy.

Cabinet approved 150 of those projects worth $2.6 billion.

"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."

How the $3 billion will be spent:

• Housing and urban development: $464 million  
• Environmental: $460 million  
• Community and social development: $670 million  
• Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708 million  

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

Shane Jones said 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," he said.

"The specific projects we're announcing today 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."