Twelve projects announced today as part of the Government's latest post-Covid infrastructure spend include everything from social housing, to an inland port development and a hydrogen-blend sewage treatment project.
The projects could employ more than 1700 people and account for only about $240 million of the potential $3 billion the Government has earmarked for the scheme. Even with the fast-tracking only a handful will start construction this year.
Months after calling for groups nationwide to come forward with "shovel ready" projects to boost the economy, the Government is explaining how a new $3 billion fund will be allocated.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today unveiled an initial list of projects to be funded.
The wide variety of projects includes funding social housing through Auckland City Mission - a project which was already underway - port upgrades in Napier, city centre upgrades in Invercargill, a new rugby stadium in Gisborne and the upgrade of Wellington District Court.
While the projects announced this morning include only a small number of the projects which will be funded - with ministers expected to travel the country announcing more as the election approaches - the announcement gives details of the areas the money will be spent.
Among the biggest job-creators in today's list are a $22 million contribution to keep construction of Auckland City Mission's HomeGround develop underway, a $55 million roading and land development project in Rotorua, and a $14 million refurbishment of the Wellington District Court.
Other projects include construction of a 12-hectare inland port at Whakatu in conjunction with Napier Port. The $20 million spend will bring the project forward by five years.
About $37 million will go into a project with New Plymouth District Council and Hiringa Energy to start blending hydrogen into the council's gas-fired thermal drying facility, which helps process sewage sludge into household fertiliser.
The total package includes about $210 million for climate resilience and flood protection projects, $155 million for transformative energy projects, about $180 million for large-scale construction projects and $50 million for enhanced regional digital connectivity.
It is also broken down by:
• Housing and urban development: $464 million
• Environmental: $460 million
• Community and social development: $670 million
• Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708 million
The approximate regional breakdown is:
• Auckland region $500 million
• Bay of Plenty Region $170 million
• Canterbury $300 million
• East Coast $106 million
• Hawke's Bay $130 million
• Manawatu/Whanganui $140 million
• Northland $150 million
• Otago $260 million
• Southland $90 million
• Taranaki $85 million
• Top of the South $85 million
• Waikato$150 million
• Wellington region $185 million
• West Coast $90 million
At May's Budget, Robertson announced $3b would be allocated towards infrastructure projects, as the Infrastructure Reference Group waded through close to 2000 possible projects. This was reduced to around 800 groups which were considered by the Government.
Cabinet has now decided on "key sectors it would like to support and general regional distribution of the fund" with 150 projects needing $2.6b approved in principal.
This morning ministers claimed that infrastructure investments would "create more than 20,000 jobs" even though the claims made by proponents of some of the projects are still being tested by officials "to ensure projects are viable and offer the benefits stated by applicants."
The Government's release noted that "all approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations" while "investment values are also subject to change".
Robertson said the projects were focused on what the Government saw as "key areas" of its economic plan.
"This is about creating jobs as we recover and rebuild from the recession caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic," Robertson said in a statement.
"Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus."
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said the pipeline of projects would create immediate economic activity in the metropolitan centres as well as the regions.
"Both are critical to our economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 crisis," Shane Jones said.
Unlike the $12b package announced by the Government in January, which was heavily weighted towards the upper North Island, the funding will be spread across New Zealand.
- Additional reporting: BusinessDesk