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Building NZ discussion documents launch - Simon Bridges

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Welcome to the launch of our Infrastructure and Transport, and RMA Reform and Housing discussion documents. While they are clearly two standalone discussion documents they are both also clearly about the same fundamental thing: building New Zealand.

Transport and Infrastructure

When I first became a Member of Parliament I had the grand plan of becoming the Minister of Justice and reforming the justice system. But John Key had other plans for me and consistently gave me economic and infrastructural portfolios. I’m glad he did.

As minister in areas such as Energy, Communications, Transport and Economic Development I got hands-on and led teams that got things done, as I’ve said, building New Zealand.

We invested more in transport, for example, than any other government in history.

I want to do that again as leader of the party of infrastructure.

I agree with something Paul has said in this discussion document. We’ve been too conservative as a country in the past in this area.

Chris is also right when he says that in government we did a good job of turning around our infrastructural deficit but we need continuous, significant and growing investment.

Sadly it’s stalled.

We can get it moving again.

And not just for the sake of it. But because energy, broadband and transport allows mums and dads to get kids to school on time, businesses to power up, goods to get across town, and start-ups - whether in Kaikohe or Kaikōura - to get online, innovate and take on the world.

Infrastructure frees up family time and grows our economy. It creates more higher-paying jobs and makes us more productive.

Next year you will see our plan; a pipeline of projects for the long-term.

Because we have the experience and the ability, it won’t be a pie in the sky plan that never gets delivered.

Jacinda Ardern promised light rail down Dominion Road would be done by 2021. Now the Government isn’t even sure if it will start in the 2020s.

They say they will have an infrastructure package to announce in the New Year. It sounds like it will be our projects that they stopped, and we welcome that.

But we know announcements aren’t the same thing as delivery, and that’s what is needed.

We will have quick wins and longer-term work.

We will deliver; doing whatever works, without ideology holding us back, to get things done.

The Government I lead will leave infrastructure as one of its biggest legacies.

Today isn’t the pipeline plan but it is a sense of our ideas.

Next year you’ll see that plan, and it will be bigger and bolder than before.

RMA Reform and Housing

That same boldness is required on RMA reform and housing, as is the same can-do approach of ‘whatever works’ to get things done.

That’s why National will repeal and Replace the RMA and will reform New Zealand’s planning rules.

If we don’t, not only will the infrastructure I have spoken of be harder to deliver but so will homes for our families.

The RMA has been amended 80 times since first legislated in 1991 to become an 800-page monster. Along with planning rules, it is largely the reason why home ownership has become and continues to get harder.

As Judith has said, the dream of home ownership is drifting further away as regulations and red tape replace building homes with filling out forms. But it’s even worse than that, with the RMA failing to deliver either development or environmental protection.

That’s why we are considering splitting the RMA into two acts so we can do both jobs better; ensuring environmental bottom lines while recognising that our environment isn’t in peril if a bedroom or deck is extended in a suburban home.

In this document you’ll also see other practical proposals to get more people into home ownership, whether it’s by utilising programmes that we know work from experience, such as Special Housing Areas and the KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme, or looking at helping reliable state tenants buy their homes, say on a rent-to-buy or deferred payment basis.

And you’ll see proposals from Andrew to make the building and construction sector stronger through ideas like allowing competition in the consenting process, and a building warranty scheme so councils aren’t overly cautious, stopping necessary developments.

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