Where’s the projects, Phil?

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford has questions to answer on why no shovel ready projects are underway despite calling for ideas two months ago, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“With New Zealand getting ready to move into level one, the Government needs to turn its attention to the economy.

“A key part of this will be getting big ticket infrastructure projects underway that will create jobs and keep people in work.

“The Minister announced on 1 April he was on the hunt for shovel ready projects that could get underway as soon as people could get back to work.

“But nearly two months later, there are no shovels in the ground.

“When the Minister issued the call, the infrastructure industry reference group received 1,924 submissions with a combined value of $136 billion so there’s no shortage of projects.

“Alarmingly, they’ve only spent $11.9 million, or 0.2 per cent, of the $6.8 billion set aside for transport infrastructure projects at the start of the year.

“With an abundance of infrastructure needed, there seems to be no good reason why projects aren’t underway already.

“This is disappointing for the industry who are desperate to get to work.

“But it’s hardly surprising from the same Minister who couldn’t deliver KiwiBuild and has stalled indefinitely on light rail to Dominion Road.

“If building big infrastructure is a part of the Government’s plan to rebuild our economy, we need to know what the hold-up is.”