Government Minister Shane Jones is being dispatched to Australia on a PPP fact-finding mission as the Government looks for ways to pay for expensive infrastructure plans.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today the Government was "open for business" for private investors for transport, urban development and housing.

"When we're talking about light rail and rapid transit my expectation is that it's likely that some of those big projects will be done in collaboration with private sector through PPP (public private partnership) models.

He made his comments to reporters during a transport summit in Wellington to discuss the Government's draft 10-year transport plan.


Twyford said it was too early to say how much money the Government was seeking but was looking at multiple-billion dollar projects. He also said it could be structured to keep borrowing off the government books.

Associate Transport Minister and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, who was at the event with Twyford said he was going to Australia on Tuesday to look at ways to attract investors and would report back to Twyford and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Twyford said there had already been a lot of conversations with investors and a lot of interest.

"The message from our Government is that we're open for business. We're very happy to work with private capital to make these big investments."

Twyford reiterated that the Government was not keen on PPPs for schools, prisons and hospitals.

"There's a world of cash out there that we would love to invest in our towns and cities and in the infrastructure to support growth. We just have to make easier to do that."

It would be "nuts" to try to pay for transport infrastructure over a short time. "We should be spreading that debt over multiple generations who are going to benefit from the infrastructure."

In terms of ownership and funding structures, Twyford said the Government intended to build on some of the previous government's work in establishing Crown infrastructure partners.


"It's a balance sheet that's not council, it's not Government, it's kind of a public purpose hybrid."

The way the PPPS are structured - off the Government's books, it will keep it within its self-imposed Fiscal Responsibility Rules.

Under those rules, the Government is required to keep posting sustainable surpluses, to get net core Crown debt down to 20 per cent within five years from 2017 and keep core Crown spending around 29 per cent of GDP.