Opunake Coastal News - 30yr Infrastructure Plan

Columns
Friday, August 21, 2015

An infrastructure plan to support a growing economy
Infrastructure supports much of our daily lives - it’s the roads we drive on, the schools our children learn in and it delivers our electricity and water. It is a key driver of the economy, and public services.
A solid infrastructure platform ensures high-quality social services like education and health are fit for purpose, inspires confidence that businesses have reliable access to the right infrastructure, and makes a difference in New Zealanders’ lives.
New Zealand has a good national infrastructure base, bolstered by investment in recent years. But over the next 30 years we face some big challenges. Some ageing infrastructure networks will need renewing. Our schools are 42 years old on average, and parts of the water network are over 100 years old.
Demand for infrastructure will also change. The population is ageing. Some of our regions will grow as the population increases by 1.2 million by 2045, but a few are expected to shrink.
That’s why we’ve launched the 2015 Thirty Year New Zealand Infrastructure Plan, which sets out the Government’s response to these infrastructure challenges.
The plan outlines 145 initiatives to strengthen how we look after our assets and improve understanding of what services the population needs, so we deliver the right infrastructure programmes to meet that need.
These initiatives include developing national shared data standards for roads, water and buildings. Common data then needs to be turned into information that decision-makers can relate to and use to make better decisions.
These 145 steps will drive better use of existing infrastructure and better allocation of new investment.
Infrastructure is expensive – central and local government combined are expected to spend $11 billion on infrastructure each year for the next 10 years, including the land transport programme and the roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband and the Rural Broadband Initiative. We need to get the best value we can from this spend.

National is committed to supporting a thriving economy with modern, sustainable infrastructure - and this plan will help us do just that.