National today released its plan for regional New Zealand and committed to working with regional communities to grow jobs and incomes and tackle challenges, rather than imposing new taxes which will stall the economy and punish hardworking New Zealanders, Simon Bridges and Nathan Guy say.
“New Zealanders now have a very clear choice between two very different visions for New Zealand this election,” Economic Development spokesperson Simon Bridges says.
“National has a plan to keep New Zealand moving forward - a confident plan for a confident and growing country.
“Labour doesn’t have a plan. They want to risk our success through unclear policies and higher taxes, and that’s not good enough.
“New Zealanders have worked too hard. We are a nation of growing opportunities – together we’re creating more jobs, growing family incomes, building new infrastructure and delivering better public services.
“We have been able to do all of that together because of the hard work and enterprise of New Zealanders, backed by National’s clear economic plan.”
National’s six-point plan for regional New Zealand is:
- Raising family incomes and delivering more jobs
- Building the infrastructure to support growth in our regions
- Helping regional businesses to grow
- Getting government finances in order
- Investing even more in world-class public services for regional New Zealand
- And we won’t impose new taxes which will take New Zealand backwards
“Labour wants to hit our regions with new taxes that would slow New Zealand down – a capital gains tax, a water tax, a land tax, a regional fuel tax and an inheritance tax as well as adding farmers to the Emissions Trading Scheme,” Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“National wants hard-working New Zealanders to keep more of what they earn. Under National someone on the average wage will receive a tax cut of $1000 per year on 1 April –tax cuts Labour has promised to cancel.
“The primary sector is the backbone of our economy and National backs the hard-work and commitment of our farmers and growers.
“We believe in the ability of our rural communities to tackle the tough issues and to get ahead, backed by a Government that supports them. Our primary sector has been doing it for decades and that’s why they are among the most efficient in the world.
“The products of their hard work are sold and savoured around the world and National is committed to ensuring they have even more opportunities to sell their produce to more markets through growing our international trade connections. That’s how you grow regional economies.
“National will work with regional New Zealand and with farmers and growers and we will back them to succeed.”
National will invest up to $6 million from the Regional Growth Programme to make the Whanganui Regional Velodrome redevelopment project a reality, National Party Economic Development spokesperson Simon Bridges has announced.
The project will see the current velodrome upgraded by installing a roof, improved amenities for cycling and speed skating, and includes provision of an area for hosting a range of other sporting and non-sporting events, such as concerts.
“National knows this is an important project for Whanganui. We recognise the value of the development of the velodrome to the region and national cycling community and that the community has been working incredibly hard to bring it to fruition,” Mr Bridges says.
“That’s why we will work with the district and regional councils, community organisations and local businesses to deliver this project.
“We will add the project to the National-led Government’s Regional Growth Programme andcontribute up to $6 million toward the cost from that fund.
“Thanks to the work of the Regional Velodrome Development Trust, the project is well underway. Resource consent has been granted, and the project is now proceeding through final detailed design stages.
“Developing the velodrome will deliver significant economic and social value to Whanganui and the wider Manawatu – Whanganui region. It will become a multi-purpose venue with the flexibility to use it as a sports venue and a wider events venue. Importantly, it will provide certainty for running weather-dependent events.”
Through the Regional Growth Programme, National is helping regions realise their economic potential.
“We’ve been working closely with the regions on economic action plans which aim to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. We’ve already launched plans in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui, Southland, Gisborne, the West Coast and Canterbury.
“This investment in Whanganui demonstrates National’s on-going commitment to supporting sustainable growth in regional New Zealand,” Mr Bridges says.
National is committed to building the infrastructure and transport system New Zealand needs to ensure our ongoing economic prosperity is secured.
“In Auckland, the commercial capital of New Zealand, we are bringing a number of transport projects online. The latest project, the Waterview Tunnel, has transformed the way people and freight move around our biggest city,” National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says.
“We know more needs to be done. That’s why National is committed to ensuring Auckland’s transport needs are met.”
- Declare the $955 million Mill Road project as a State Highway, removing the responsibility from Auckland Council. This will provide funding certainty for this important project through the National Land Transport Fund and free up capital for Auckland Council to reinvest in other high priority transport projects.
- Work with Auckland Council to accelerate the AMETI Eastern Busway and associated Reeves Road flyover.
- Work with Auckland Council on a mass transit solution between the CBD and Auckland Airport and complete route protection.
- Continue construction of the $3.4 billion City Rail Link project on the fastest possible timeline.
- Start construction on the new East-West Link State Highway.
- Accelerate construction on the: Northwestern Busway; State Highway 16 and 18 interchange; Penlink; Southern Motorway widening between Papakura and Drury; widen State Highway 20B to improve eastern access to Auckland Airport; and add Airport-Manukau bus priority lanes on State Highway 20, including Puhinui interchange.
- Build the Third Main Rail Line and extend electrification to Pukekohe.
- Continue investigations for the introduction of road pricing.
“National’s transport policy will continue to see record levels of investment in Auckland to support the city’s growing transport needs. We have a track record of delivering world-class projects on time and on budget,” Mr Bridges says.
“We are today releasing our transport policy that delivers for all New Zealanders and will provide the country with the transport system it needs.
“Our plan demonstrates that we are committed to building the world-class infrastructure the country needs. We will keep people and freight moving, while supporting our strong economic and population growth,” Mr Bridges says.
National’s transport policy will:
- Deliver the $10.5 billion next generation of Roads of National Significance. These are nation-building, lead infrastructure projects which will encourage future economic growth, rather than waiting until the strain on the network becomes a handbrake on progress.
- Accelerate Regional Roading projects that are important for regional development and growth faster than otherwise planned.
- Complete our $600 million investment in fixing the worst 90 black spots around the country, reducing deaths and serious injuries by 900 over 10 years.
- Continue to invest at record levels in public transport including an additional $267 million investment in commuter rail in Auckland and Wellington.
- Grow our air links with other countries to bring on more flights and cheaper airfares.
- Continue with the $333 million Urban Cycleways Programme that will see 54 cycleway projects built in 15 centres across the country, marking the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history.
- Accelerate the uptake of Electric Vehicles, with the Government to lead by example with 1 in 3 vehicles in the Government fleet being electric by 2021.
“National is committed to building the infrastructure and transport system New Zealand needs to ensure our ongoing economic prosperity is secured,” Mr Bridges says.
“We also know that strong transport connections are critical for our growing regions and that’s why we are investing strongly to support their growth.
“National’s plan integrates roads, railways, ports, industrial hubs and air services, ensuring that we have a coherent and balanced approach to New Zealand’s transport needs.”
Transport Minister Simon Bridges was joined by Wellington City Mayor Justin Lester today to turn the sod on the Cobham Drive Cycleway, part of Wellington’s refreshed Urban Cycleway Programme.
“This cycleway will become an iconic feature of Wellington’s eastern gateway,” Mr Bridges says.
“As a key part of the proposed Great Harbour Way, the Cobham Drive Cycleway will serve as an important link to other planned routes in Miramar and Kilbirnie, and to the central city.”
The design of the two-way cycleway is integrated with the coastal environment and features landscaping and planting that will complement the wind sculptures along the harbour’s edge.
Today’s sod turning follows the start of work on upgrading the Hutt Road shared path into a cycleway, which began in April.
“It is fantastic to see Wellington making fast progress on the city’s refreshed Urban Cycleways Programme. Today also marks the start of the Council’s next urban cycleway project,” Mr Bridges says.
Public consultation has begun for cycleways planned in the eastern suburbs including options for Evans Bay Parade, and better biking connections in Kilbirnie and Miramar.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to have their say in shaping a safer, connected cycling network for Wellington that will improve transport for everyone,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Cobham Drive Cycleway and planned eastern routes are part of the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme, a $333 million investment to build key, high-value urban cycling projects throughout the country.”
Notes to editors
Options for public consultation are available at www.transportprojects.org.nz with the people able to provide feedback online.
All the plans and options will also be on show at public open days to be held at ASB Sports Centre on Wednesday 6 September (4pm - 7pm) and Saturday 9 September (10am - 4pm).
Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced the selected option for the Mount Messenger Bypass in Taranaki following a decision by the NZ Transport Agency Board last Friday.
An eastern alignment has been selected, which will bypass the existing Mount Messenger and provide a more direct and efficient route. This alignment was known as Option C during public consultation.
“In 2016 the Government announced that funding would be available to accelerate this project as part of the Accelerated Regional Roading Programme,” Mr Bridges says.
“State Highway 3 is the key link between Taranaki and the Waikato. Improving the safety and reliability of this route is a real priority for the Government. The new route will contribute to the ongoing economic growth of Taranaki.
“After over a year of extensive assessment and consultation, it’s exciting to now be able to announce the selected option for the Mount Messenger bypass,” Mr Bridges says.
The eastern alignment option delivers safety, resilience and travel time benefits whilst avoiding geologically unstable areas. It is also the preferred option of both the road transport sector and the Department of Conservation.
“This project will provide a host of wider economic benefits, including additional local employment opportunities, the development of region’s tourism sector and a much-needed reliable freight and lifeline route connecting Taranaki and the Waikato,” Mr Bridges says.
“Taranaki has the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita in New Zealand. This new and improved route will help increase productivity in the region and provide a safer, more resilient connection to the Waikato.
“The new route will ensure Taranaki’s goods have greater and more reliable access to domestic and world markets as well as providing better access to tourist visiting the region,” Mr Bridges says.
The project is estimated to cost $200 million and will be funded through the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme and National Land Transport Fund.
The project is expected to be complete by 2021.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has joined Taranaki councils and the business community to launch an economic development strategy for the region.
The Minister is in New Plymouth today to join the local community at the launch of Tapuae Roa - Make Way for Taranaki, which provides direction for the region’s economy.
“Taranaki’s economy is mostly based on the oil, gas, dairy, manufacturing and other sectors. This strategy will build on this through boosting skills and enterprise to grow Taranaki into a modern, high-value economy," Mr Bridges says.
“While the region has a noteworthy technology profile, the strategy also highlights the lifestyle and culture of the region. The region can be proud of its achievements with the award-winning Len Lye Centre, the coastal walkway, WOMAD and many others.”
The strategy was commissioned by Taranaki’s four councils and was developed by business and iwi leaders, the region’s councils and central government.
It identifies a number of action areas including boosting tourism and visitor services, growing the Maori economy and focusing on improving skills and innovation.
“The opportunities highlighted in the strategy will go a long way to Taranaki continuing its reign as the second best region in the world as voted by Lonely Planet, building on its visitor sector and taking the economy to the next level,” Mr Bridges says.
An action plan currently being developed will be released later this year and will identify priority actions to deliver the regional strategy.
Through the Regional Growth Programme, central government agencies will work in partnership with Taranaki stakeholders to develop and implement the Action Plan.
For more information on the strategy, go to www.makeway.co.nz.
The Government is investing $270 million to roll out Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) to 190 more small towns, and extend rural broadband to another 74,000 households and businesses, Communications Minister Simon Bridges says.
“We’re also bringing the completion of the UFB network forward by two years. By the end of 2022, our UFB programme will provide more than four million New Zealanders with access to world-class internet,” Mr Bridges says.
The investment is made up of:$130 million to extend UFB to another 60,000 households and businesses in 190 new towns and complete the network by 2022. $140 million to extend rural coverage of high speed broadband under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) to another 74,000 rural households and businesses, and to deliver mobile coverage on 1000 kilometres of rural highways and more than 100 tourist areas through the Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF).
UFB uses fibre optic cables to deliver broadband to households and businesses. It is most suitable and cost effective in urban areas with higher dwelling and business densities.
“We started UFB in 2010 with the original goal of connecting 34 towns to world-class fibre-to-the-premises. Earlier this year we expanded it to 200 more towns and today’s announcement will bring us to 390,” Mr Bridges says.
Because UFB is not feasible for every rural community, the RBI provides faster internet to homes and businesses outside UFB areas through a combination of fixed lines upgrades and new fixed wireless coverage.
Over 300,000 rural homes and businesses already have access to improved broadband under the first phase of RBI which was completed in June 2016.
Today’s funding announcement is in addition to the $150 million the Government has already allocated for rural broadband and mobile coverage.
“We want to ensure that some of our biggest sectors that operate in rural New Zealand – such as agriculture and tourism – can benefit from the productivity improvements that better connectivity offers,” Mr Bridges says.
The Mobile Black Spot Fund will improve public safety and visitor experiences by providing greater mobile coverage on stretches of State Highway and in tourism locations where no coverage currently exists.
“We are providing coverage along remote parts of the State Highway network that until now had no coverage at all. For example, State Highway 6 on the West Coast and State Highway 1 in the Far North,” Mr Bridges says.
“Better connectivity in these remote areas will enhance visitor experiences at some of the countries tourist hotspots, such as Milford Sound, Cape Reinga and Bethells Beach.
Together, the Rural Broadband and Mobile Black Spot programmes will be delivered through the construction of more than 450 new towers, in addition to the 150 already built.
“Today’s announcement brings our total investment in rolling out world-leading communications infrastructure to more than $2 billion,” Mr Bridges says.
“Once complete, New Zealand will be in the top five countries in the OECD for access to high speed broadband. Considering that in 2011 we were placed 26th with very little connectivity that will be a fantastic achievement.
“By 2022, 87 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to UFB and 99 per cent will have access to high speed internet,” Mr Bridges says.
The $270 million programme announced today will be funded by $240 million of recycled capital from earlier stages of the UFB programme and $30 million from the Telecommunications Development Levy.
“This investment is a vital part of the Government’s plan to support regional growth and develop a productive and competitive economy,” Mr Bridges says.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced government funding of up to $800,000 for 3-D aerial mapping of Northland to provide the region with highly accurate geographical data to make better business decisions.
LiDAR is a remote sensing tool which uses laser pulses to generate large amounts of highly accurate geographical terrain data.
“This will be the most comprehensive LIDAR exercise ever undertaken in New Zealand and the high quality mapping data produced will provide a blueprint of the whole region,” says Mr Bridges.
“It will produce data that is ten times more accurate than what is currently used, and can have a wide range of uses from forest inventory, floodplain mapping, urban planning and coastal engineering to its use for the design of powerlines, roads, railways, mines, farms and land developments.
“This is part of Northland’s joint Economic Action Plan with Government and the region which contains projects identified as being key to supporting economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Guy said the data will provide authorities with more confidence to progress infrastructure projects and deliver better, more cost-effective planning and a better understanding and ability to plan for sustainable land management.
“The data can be used by forestry companies to help plan their logging operations, horticulture companies for sustainable land management and by public and private operators to plan pest control.
“On the farm it can be used for creating topographic maps of fields and for crop mapping in vineyards and orchards. It will be a valuable tool for decision-makers to use in working out how to get the best use of their land.
“LiDAR also helps with detailed hazard planning and preparation by identifying any changes to land formations, water courses and physical structures after a natural event. After the Kaikoura earthquake it was used to show how far the impact extended out to sea.”
Funding for the Northland LiDAR project comes from the government’s Regional Growth Programme, co-led by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment. Land Information New Zealand has also contributed funds.
The government’s funding has been collectively matched by the four Northland councils.
LiDAR surveying is expected to start within the coming months and be completed in 2018. A Cessna twin engine aeroplane, modified for LiDAR surveying, will be used. The plane can be flown safely at low altitudes over urban areas.
National will start construction on the Nelson Southern Link in the next term of government.
“National is committed to delivering the infrastructure our regions need to support the growing economy. That’s why we are accelerating the delivery of this critical transport project for Nelson,” National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says.
“Our Accelerated Regional Roading Programme has enabled the construction, investigation and delivery of 16 regionally significant projects right across New Zealand.
“The investigation and design of the Nelson Southern Link was part of the Programme in 2014 and today we are announcing we will get on and build it.
“Nelson is one of the country’s fastest growing areas with 4.4 per cent growth in 2016 and that strong growth is set to continue, providing more jobs and raising incomes.
“Efficient and reliable transport networks are vital to sustaining Nelson’s export-led economy and we need to act now to ensure growing congestion does not become a handbrake. That’s why we are accelerating the construction of the Nelson Southern Link.
“The Nelson Southern Link will reduce congestion and improve travel times for people and freight moving around Nelson, support economic growth and boost the region’s productivity.
“It will also ensure exporters in the region can get their goods to domestic and international markets faster and more reliably,” Mr Bridges says.
The new road is expected to cost up to $135 million and will include city connections, cycle and walking facilities, improved intersections – including some that are grade separated.
Cycling in Nelson is a popular option for getting around Nelson. The iconic Rock’s Road has seen strong growth in the number of cyclists and pedestrians using it.
“Once the alignment for the Nelson Southern Link has been finalised a re-elected National-led Government will also work with the City Council to upgrade the walking and cycling facilities along Rocks Road.
“Rocks Road is an important link in Nelson’s wider cycleway network. The new cycleway will provide for a safer, and more enjoyable experience for all users and complement the new walking and cycling facilities that will be built as part of the Nelson Southern Link,” Mr Bridges says.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman welcome the fifth Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand, which officially opens tonight at Coronet Peak.
“Hosting the Winter Games in New Zealand is a great opportunity to showcase our country in terms of both winter tourism and international snow sports competitions,” says Mr Bridges.
“The last Winter Games in New Zealand in 2015 attracted around 2,000 international visitors including athletes, coaches, media and spectators.
“The Games include international competition in alpine skiing, freeskiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, freeride, curling, and ice hockey.
“This year’s Games runs from today to the 10th of September at locations in and around Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby. They have gone from strength to strength since their inception in 2009, and there are now plans to make them an annual event.
“The Government has contributed $1.25 million towards the hosting of this year’s games through the Major Events Development Fund.”
“The Games are one of the world’s top five winter sports competitions and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Dr Coleman.
“This year’s Winter Games are a critical event for Kiwi athletes hoping to qualify for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“On top of the major events funding, the Government has also provided funding of $20,000 to Snow Sports NZ through Sport NZ to help deliver a Continental Cup event in the lead up to the Winter Games.
“The Continental Cup is a great opportunity for our winter athletes who are just shy of qualifying for the Winter Games to get across the line, while also taking advantage of the infrastructure put in place for the games.
“It’s also great for our Olympic hopefuls to include a home event of this stature in their preparation for PyeongChang, and for local fans have the opportunity to enjoy the sport.”
For further information on the Winter Games visit www.wintergamesnz.kiwi/