New Zealand expedites 11 infrastructure projects to boost economy

The government of New Zealand has fast-tracked 11 construction projects to boost the country’s economy after the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a government press release, the projects selected will provide "job-rich infrastructure" in "different sizes and in different locations around New Zealand".

An estimated 1,250 jobs will be created across the 11 schemes, which will include roads, cycleways, rail upgrades, water storage and housing developments.

The government will present legislation to allow projects to get under way in between 45 and 70 working days, rather than the four-to-six months previously planned on.

Repair, maintenance and minor upgrade works on rail and road works will also be accelerated, although these will still be subject to certain standard processes, and will have to be passed by "expert consenting panels".

David Parker, New Zealand’s environment minister, said that despite the bill, environmental measures will still be adhered to, including the Treaty of Waitangi, and Treaty Settlement Obligations. He added: "We are looking forward to ideas from a range of people and organisations including district and regional councils, NGOs and the private sector."

The fast track law is a temporary measure that will self-repeal in two years’ time.

Image: New Zealand government buildings (Brian Scantlebury/Dreamstime)

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