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The Government is committing additional funding in Budget 2017 to implement some of its key environmental and infrastructure initiatives, Environment and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The new funding in Budget 2017 is focused on putting in place improvements to urban development, implementing the Housing Infrastructure Fund, providing additional funding to improve fresh water quality, and supporting marine-protected-area reform,” Dr Smith says.

Budget 2017 includes an extra $4.9 million operating over four years to implement the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC).

“The NPS-UDC requires councils to make sure plans provide plenty of opportunities for feasible housing and business development. It’s important that it is implemented as quickly and effectively as possible. Together with the second phase of the Resource Management Act reforms, it is one of our key initiatives to help address housing affordability.

“The $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund is another key initiative and is designed to assist high-growth councils in financing the necessary infrastructure – the water supply, storm water, waste water and roading – to open up new housing areas. Budget 2017 provides a further $3.5 million to administer this fund.

Budget 2017 also includes an extra $1 million in 2017/18 for the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund, to improve water quality of freshwater bodies (including lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and lagoons) that are important to local iwi/hapū.

“This is in addition to the initiatives announced in the Government’s Clean Water Package, consultation on which has recently closed. That package includes work in the areas of stock exclusion from waterways, changes to the National Policy Statement on fresh water management, and other initiatives,” Dr Smith says.

Budget 2017 includes $1.5 million in 2017/18 (including $250,000 in Vote Environment) to advance proposals for recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds. The funding will support engagement between key government agencies – the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation – iwi, communities and stakeholders to progress the fishing parks alongside other proposals for the use and protection of marine space in these areas.

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