The New Zealand Upgrade Programme was announced by prime minister Jacinda Ardern. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in New Zealand – modernising our infrastructure, preparing for climate change and helping grow the economy,” she said. “It makes sense to do this now because we’ve managed the books wisely and have historically low interest rates, which makes our programme affordable.
“We’re building on the work we’ve been doing over the past two years to improve the lives of New Zealanders. It will take time to rebuild our infrastructure after nine years of neglect, but we’re getting on with it – and this package is the next big step.”
Deputy prime minister Winston Peters said that the programme is the largest investment in infrastructure in decades. “We have a vision for our country and we are investing in making that vision a reality,” he said. “Today’s announcement of further funding for New Zealand’s national rail system is yet one more step in restoring a reliable, resilient freight and passenger network. The upgrade programme also includes a serious investment in the regions, which we will be announcing more detail about in the near future.”
Climate change minister James Shaw said that in the wake of the Government’s Zero Carbon Act passing unopposed last year, the new clean energy announcements are an important step in getting the government’s own house in order. “Every community can be part of the solution to climate change and creating a better future for our kids and grandkids. Our plan to help important local places like hospitals, schools and other public organisations switch to clean, climate-friendly ways of keeping people warm and the lights on is a big part of that.
“Our government is also improving our rail network so we can get more freight off the roads and give people better, cleaner ways of getting around. It is exciting too that for the first time we have a funded plan for people to be able to walk and cycle over the Auckland harbour bridge.”