Finance Minister Grant Robertson: Jobs and infrastructure around the country

Opinion 17/07/2020

This oped is written for Magic Talk by Finance Minister Grant Robertson

OPINION: This month the Government started rolling out a major package of infrastructure investments to help kick-start the post-COVID economic recovery. The investments cover a range of infrastructure projects around the country, all of which were required to be ready-to-go in order to receive Government backing.

Our focus is on creating jobs and getting the economy moving again. We’re able to do this because the Government was decisive in the early stages of the global COVID-19 pandemic, making quick decisions to protect New Zealand and New Zealanders. Those actions and the fact that our team of five million got in behind the Government, means that now we can open up the economy faster than many of our international counterparts.

In the May Budget, we put aside $3 billion for infrastructure projects that could get underway quickly. This week we have continued announcing some of those projects.

A few examples include the $25 million upgrade of the Homer Tunnel on the road to Milford Sound. This project alone will create 180 jobs and will have flow-on economic benefits for the region.

I was in Masterton on Wednesday and was pleased to announce the Government would be putting $10 million towards the revamp of the local aerodrome and also $1.3 million to upgrade the local skatepark. These two projects will also create jobs in the local community and in the case of the aerodrome increase transport connectivity to the Wairarapa.

We’re only just getting started too - these are just a few examples of the more than 150 projects approved in principle that will be announced over the coming weeks. Overall the package of investment is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand funding projects with a value of more than $5 billion.

Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic we have kept the wellbeing of our people at the heart of what we do, by protecting our people when the virus was threatening our communities and supporting our businesses and workers through the lockdown. Now as we emerge from the health crisis domestically, a key part of our economic recovery plan is building infrastructure which will create jobs and get the economy moving again.