We need more innovative solutions for infrastructure

New Zealand needs to become far more innovative in the way we deliver infrastructure if we want to address problems like housing affordability, our persistent lack of productivity growth and our recovery from Covid-19, National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly says.

“As Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr noted, Government agencies have a wide range of levers that can be used to address housing issues, with infrastructure near the top of this list.

“Improving the way we fund and deliver infrastructure so that we can enable more private development is critical to our recovery from Covid-19.

“From upgrading our transport, wastewater and electricity networks to building new schools, hospitals and public facilities, more infrastructure will be critical if we are to build our way back to housing affordability and productivity.

“The United Kingdom’s Government has just announced the establishment of an Infrastructure Bank tasked with delivering ‘world-class infrastructure’ by investing in sectors such as transportation and renewable energy, and providing loans to local councils to fund projects. This sort of innovation is to be welcomed.

“At the election, National proposed something similar, a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB).

“The NIB would provide finance and advice to central and local Government infrastructure projects, and ensure efficient financing of the infrastructure networks that are essential for a competitive and productive economy.

“The UK’s Infrastructure Bank has a focus on initiatives addressing climate change, and we would do the same.

“Given the housing crisis has only got worse since then, we strongly encourage the Government to look again at this proposal. Better infrastructure is the key to unlocking a brighter economic future for New Zealanders.”