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Wednesday, February 11

Fast-tracked public projects give $500m boost



Prime Minister John Key and Infrastructure Minister Bill English today confirmed almost $500 million worth of publicly-funded building projects will be accelerated in the latest in a series of initiatives under the Government’s Jobs and Growth Plan.

The projects, spanning the housing, transport and education sectors and spread widely around regions, have been fast-tracked to contribute quickly to the Government’s economic stimulus programme.

"These projects will get underway quickly – in many cases in the next few months – and they will keep more New Zealanders working as the global economic crisis is felt here," Mr Key said. "They were chosen because they are quality projects, they will make lasting contributions to our economy and they are ready to go.

"They will employ New Zealanders and create work for businesses in regions, whether they are builders, plumbers or electricians. And their benefits will flow through communities by helping keep suppliers and sub-contractors, shopkeepers and sales staff in business."

About $100 million worth of fast-tracked projects will start before June 30 this year.

The $483.7 million of infrastructure spending brought forward under today’s announcements include:


Education – $216.7 million of spending, including five new schools, school refurbishments and maintenance and ICT infrastructure improvements.
Transport – $142.5 million of spending, spanning five large state highway projects and a programme of smaller, regional roading improvement projects.
Housing – $124.5 million of spending, allowing Housing New Zealand to upgrade and renovate 10,000 more state houses, and build 69 new state houses over the next six months.
The infrastructure announcement today is the latest in a series of Government jobs and growth initiatives, which will ease the sharpest impact of the global recession and prepare New Zealand for future growth.

It follows a $480 million helping hand of tax and regulatory assistance for small and medium businesses last week, sweeping reforms of the Resource Management Act and a programme of income tax cuts over each of the next three years.

"Infrastructure is an important part of our Jobs and Growth Plan and this is just the first announcement about bringing forward worthwhile projects that will help us through the current economic challenges and contribute to driving up New Zealand’s long-term economic competitiveness," Mr English said.

Cabinet will shortly consider the establishment of a small infrastructure unit to manage and plan New Zealand’s long-term infrastructure needs and the Budget will include significant infrastructure initiatives.

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