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Roll out the plans

Written By: - Date published: 1:59 pm, March 25th, 2020 - 10 comments
Categories: Economy, infrastructure, uncategorized - Tags:

Fairly soon every group and their dog are going to come out with recovery plans for New Zealand.

First off the block – even before we went into lockdown – is the ten point plan from Infrastructure New Zealand.

1. Fund local transport and water projects – many councils have consented, shovel ready projects across every town in New Zealand that are ready to go today and don’t need big workforces. Infrastructure New Zealand’s Building Regions proposal aligns well with the Crown’s unfunded Urban Growth Partnerships – the May Budget must introduce a new co-funding regime to get these projects done.

2. Rapidly mobilise the Infrastructure Commission – some councils don’t even need money to invest in long overdue water and transport projects, just capability. The faster we bring the Infrastructure Commission’s project advisory team on board, the more central and local projects we can unlock.

3. Double down on housing growth – Kāinga Ora and the Government’s urban growth agenda must build on progress to address the housing crisis and support urban land supply.

4. Let NZTA borrow – the Transport Agency doesn’t currently have its own borrowing capacity, but it does have a reliable revenue stream and big asset base. If NZTA could borrow in the same way as Kāinga Ora, multi-year transport programmes could be funded. If NZTA has funding certainty it will also enable councils to spend 100% of their transport capex programmes – today these are often underspent as NZTA doesn’t have sufficient funding.

5. Invest in green energy – we’ll never again have the opportunity to tackle emissions and climate change that we have today. A number of major renewable electricity projects are consented and awaiting transmission investment, but Transpower is unable to invest ahead of demand. Bring the energy programme forward to accelerate the shift away from oil.

6. Consenting and design – not all projects need shovels and there are thousands of skilled workers who will slip onto welfare if the pipeline stops. We may need infrastructure spend to be a fiscal lever for us in the months ahead – why not design, consent and build business cases now to create a ‘shovel ready’ pipeline for the future?

7. Streamlined RMA consents and Public Works Act initiatives – the progress New Zealand made to recover from the devastating Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes was enabled by streamlining RMA processes. Let’s use these extraordinary times to ensure projects of national significance get consented, or Public Works Act interventions are made, to cut through excessive delays.

8. Alliance contracting and open-book project delivery partnerships – we can cut down on the time it takes to tender and procure work by signing longer term and bundled project contracts. An open book approach can ensure the taxpayer gets value for money and give employers confidence to keep and take on staff.

9. Apprenticeships – some sectors New Zealand’s workforce will be hit hard. The Government can and should attach conditions to infrastructure delivery which require training, upskilling and apprenticeships of those looking for a new career.

10. RISK – not taking risks in the current environment, is taking risks. The Government is going to have to move quickly and responsively to a situation moving much faster than any infrastructure project. Some decisions will turn out to be wrong, others right. It will be no different for business owners. The Government must continue to exploit its size, authority and balance sheet to de-risk private sector investment and back New Zealand.”

Possibly they could have waited until the funerals were over.

10 comments on “Roll out the plans ”

  1. lprent 1

    Indeed. But I guess greed is paramount.

  2. RedBaronCV 2

    Yes it is far too early

    yes there are what appear to be huge right wing power grabs on the list. NZTA borrowing – prelude to PPP arrangements??

    Yes there are a couple of sops to public opinion??? ( apprenticeships)

    But overall there is and will be a lot of pain for individuals – do we need recovery plans hijacked by the top end of town for the benefit of the few. Can't see those salary cuts yet at the high end beyond a few tokens

    I want to see a recovery managed by increased govt action. Ministry of works 2020?

    • RosieLee 2.1

      Yes. And the electricity departments. And the public health system. And the postal and banking services. And the managers paid as just that – not CEOs of mega corporations. Public servants of public infrastructure. And hey – what happened to the days when a teacher at the top of the basic scale was paid as much as a back bench MP. Now it's half.

  3. barry 3

    So we should come up with better plans.

    Clearly tourism is dead for at least a year. Perhaps if we do kill off the virus and quarantine visitors, we could get a reciprocal travel arrangement with China who just opened up the great wall again. But no cruise ships, certainly not millions of visitors each year.

    The world will still need food, so farming will be back to normal as soon as we can guarantee supply lines to markets. We won't have the same supply of cheap labour – does it make sense to spend a year's wages on quarantine to bring someone here. So somehow they are going to have to pay enough to encourage NZers back to the land.

    Software, games, movies – being virus free is going to be a huge advantage if we can achieve it. We can be a knowledge industry hub. Tech people will happily quarantine to come here if we can guarantee virus-free working conditions.

    None of these need more roads or longer runways. We will need rail for freight and small jets for flexible travel. We need public transport for liveable cities (safe if we have no virus).

    Let's think about how to work with the future. But it is all dependent on controlling and eradicating the virus, and keeping it out. Follow the isolation rules – take our medicine. Beef up our testing regime, isolate confirmed, probable & suspected cases. Test asymptomatic contacts. Test for antibodies with every blood test for any purpose. Test arrivals at the airport and quarantine them.

    Whatever it costs, it is cheaper than what we are going through now. Don't throw money away on infrastructure projects, spend money on health and keeping us virus-free.

  4. georgecom 4

    Forget announcing a whole load of new roads, for example the Auckland East-West link. If big money is to be spent on new projects, look at the likes of the Auckland light rail. Local water assets looks sensible, fixing some of Wellingtons most urgent piping, small town water purification or sewerage treatment where there is a pressing need. Renewable energy likewise. Dust off the likes of the house insulation project where there is still the need for similar things.

    • Andre 4.1

      I'm just pondering how to go about selling big public transport projects in the midst of being locked down to keep people way waaaaay away from each other.

  5. mauī 5

    Time to go with the flow and erase globalism from the country. We have the right party in government right now – NZ First, and implementing a mass nationalization program across every sector would give us secure jobs, a low cost of living, highly developed industries and the capability for the country to weather any storm.

  6. Sans Cle 6

    Op Ed from Ireland (The Irish Times) about rebuilding the financial system after Covid:

    https://bit.ly/2Jf86Sw

  7. A 7

    I don't get the road spend at all. People can and should be less reliant on transport.

    Centers of attention – healthcare spending, but reallocated to incorporate alternative products rather than drugs. [refer to Dr Darren Schimdt for his great videos on "that stupid virus"] In other words take this opportunity to restructure spending so that we get cheaper options that still have scientific support. The endless trailing of US guidelines has to end – I refer specifically to the food pyramid, but the way we fund research which is currently missing unpopular conditions, the weird insurance relationships that inflate charges. Stuff like that.

    HYDROGEN – the fuel of the future. Let’s clear the way for this to take over from petrol asap.

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