The Provincial Growth Fund is spreading investment around the regions to provide long-lasting economic benefits for areas that have been previously neglected.

There's no avoiding the negative economic news coming from offshore. The trade war between China and the US, Brexit and the contraction of Germany's economy are all fuelling global uncertainty.

New Zealand is an outward facing, export-led nation so it is particularly vulnerable to potential international economic shocks.

As a Government we are making sure we stay ahead of the curve by investing to help keep the economy moving and working for all New Zealanders.


We increased our new operating spending in the May Budget from $2.4 billion to $3.8 billion per annum because we could see the clouds gathering on the horizon.

This along with our multi-year infrastructure investments is helping New Zealand's economic growth stay ahead of our friends across the Tasman and other comparable economies.

Infrastructure connects our regions and cities and drives economic activity so it is critical it is functioning well.

We knew when we took office that there had been long-term under investment in infrastructure with some of it critically in need of repair.

The Government is committed to closing that infrastructure deficit.

We began the work in last year's Budget by investing in school refurbishments, fixing mouldy and crumbling hospitals and investing in our regions.

This year's Budget kept the momentum up with an infrastructure package to help underpin our economic growth.

For example, we are making major capital investments in education and health including $5 billion over five years in education buildings, and $2.9 billion over five years in hospitals. We are also investing in transport with $17 billion over four years going into roads, rail and public transport.


The Provincial Growth Fund is spreading investment around the regions to provide long-lasting economic benefits for areas that have been previously neglected.

One of the important things we know the construction sector needs from the Government is certainty and to know what our plans are beyond the end of the financial year.

That's why in the last Budget we changed the way we allocate capital spending.

We've moved away from single-year capital allowance to a rolling multi-year allowance so our plans for capital spending are laid out clearly and the sector can plan and invest. It also improves our ability to take a longer-term view of capital commitments and increases transparency, by tracking and reporting more clearly the cash impact of initiatives over time.

This is supported with the recent establishment of Te Waihanga, the Infrastructure Commission which is a major step forward in giving certainty with a 30-year pipeline of infrastructure investment.

The Government also entered into an accord with the construction sector to help increase productivity, raise capability and restore confidence in the industry.

It aims to encourage better leadership, more collaboration across both government and industry and via a steering group trying to ease labour shortages, improvement government procurement and provide better protection for people when things go wrong.

As a Government we are acutely aware of the importance of strong, highly functioning infrastructure to our economy, our regions, our people and our wellbeing.

This high level of investment is not just to counter global uncertainty – we are committed to building a New Zealand that is more productive, more sustainable, and more inclusive.

• Grant Robertson is Minister of Finance.