New Zealand plans $7.8bn infrastructure programme

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that US$7.84bn will be spent on infrastructure in the country, including roads, railways, schools and hospitals.

The New Zealand Upgrade Programme will take advantage of low interest rates in the country. Ardern said this was a chance to "rebuild our infrastructure after nine years of neglect", taking aim at the Fifth National Government of New Zealand which led the country from 2008 to 2017, and which "announced a number of projects but never funded them".

Winston Peters, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, 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."

James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister, said: "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."

Image: Auckland harbour bridge (Ingolfson/Public Domain)

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