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Key: National Infrastructure Plan Vital To NZ's Growth

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

3 August 2008 - A 20-year National Infrastructure Plan and a Minister of Infrastructure will be used by a National-led government to help set a clear direction for this vital area of investment, says National Party Leader John Key.

Speaking at the Party's annual conference today, Mr Key laid out National's intention to build the infrastructure New Zealand needs for long-term economic growth.

"Right now, we have a significant infrastructure deficit. The result is poor productivity and increased pressure on inflation and interest rates. This deficit spans from our roading network through to our energy supply.

"Nor is the problem limited to central government. Over the next decade local government will face an infrastructure deficit of some $30 billion.

"National believes building better infrastructure is essential to fuelling higher levels of non-inflationary economic growth for years to come."

National will:

Appoint a Minister of Infrastructure to reshape, co-ordinate and then oversee the Government's infrastructure objectives. Develop a 20-year National Infrastructure Plan in conjunction with local government to set a clear direction for vital national infrastructure investment, including top priority projects. Introduce a new category of state highway, called Roads of National Significance, which will be singled out for priority treatment. SH1 is an example. Such roads will be central to our development and investment plans Introduce priority consenting, which will streamline consents for major national infrastructure using a call-in process so the decision is determined nationally. The law will require a decision on these priority consents within nine months. Increase Crown capital investment by up to an extra $500 million a year above levels projected by Labour. This is in addition to the Broadband investment commitment of $1.5 billion over six years. This will result in National investing in close to $5 billion of additional capital investments, over the next six years, to fund infrastructure over and above that foreshadowed by Labour. This mean that at the most, National will be running a gross debt-to-GDP ratio around two percentage points higher than Labour is planning. Pass laws to introduce a new range of financing techniques for national infrastructure projects. National will introduce infrastructure bonds as a new asset class, and make greater use of public-private partnerships.

"National's plan to step-up investment in critical and necessary infrastructure will be done at the same time as remaining within conservative debt levels.

"This investment will deliver considerable returns to New Zealanders for generations to come. That return will come in the form of enhanced services and enhanced capacity for our economy to grow and compete with the rest of the world.

"Right now, New Zealand doesn't have a debt problem, it has a growth problem.

"National is not prepared to stand by and watch New Zealand be held back by utterly inadequate transport networks, inadequate electricity supply, and inadequate telecommunications.

"It's time to take the handbrake off. It's time to turn the growth engine on."

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