What we have has been built up over years of careful planning, diligent budgeting and financial management, and we do not want it squandered, writes National MP Judith Collins.

Unfortunately there're some very worrying clouds gathering on the economic horizon.
I'm concerned at the impact that this could have on our country.

Recently, there have been an array of negative economic indicators including an ANZ business confidence survey which showed that levels were at their lowest ebb since 2008 — the midst of the Global Financial Crisis.

The latest National Construction Pipeline from MBIE shows infrastructure investment projections down dramatically on 2017, highlighting the problem of uncertainty in the infrastructure sector and raising serious questions about New Zealand's ability to service new housing. BRANZ research shows overall infrastructure capital expenditure is forecast to flatline over the next five years.


If we consider construction and infrastructure, investment is stalling and going backwards in some areas. There's a lack of leadership from this Government, generating uncertainty and stagnating the economy.

There are major projects in the pipeline, waiting for signoff. These include "Mill Rd", "Penlink" and the "East West Link" in Auckland as well as components of "Let's Get Wellington Moving" and major upgrades to the SH2 corridor north of Tauranga among other state highway projects nationwide.

These projects are needed for homes, tourism and regional economic development.
But it's wider than that — and problems extend into the residential and commercial construction as well. That's what I'm hearing on the ground and the sector is concerned that there is now a relocation of resource to Australia.

So the question must be asked — has Government's agenda come at the expense of economic growth in this country and if so, is it time for the Government to acknowledge the damage that it's doing and focus on turning things around?

National's plan was step by step, development by development, getting on and addressing New Zealand's housing challenges.

Under National, New Zealand was on track to build nearly 200,000 houses over the next six years and more houses were being built faster.

All of that progress is being thrown out in favour of ill-thought through plans such as the KiwiBuild policy.

Labour's KiwiBuild policy was first announced in 2012. Now six years later and after ten months in Government, the Government cannot answer basic questions.

They cannot answer how the industry would be funded, how the industry and buyers would get around bank lending restrictions, how they would free up land to build houses on and how they would get around the Government's immigration confusion to find the construction workforce needed.

The previous National government made three changes to the Resource Management Act, in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

We made some good changes when we were in Government but concessions due to coalition agreements made some changes difficult.

While in opposition, I have been listening to people across the country and we all agree an overhaul is needed. That's why I have publicly stated that our proposed changes to the Resource Management Act will be available for discussion before the next election.

When the economy is growing, wages and jobs increase. We can build infrastructure like schools and hospitals, and invest more in better public services. But when the economy is stalled, we cannot manage without borrowing more or raising taxes. No one wants to see that happening.

This year is about listening to our communities, next year about getting feedback on the ideas we put forward and 2020 about delivering the concrete plans that show New Zealanders we are ready to lead.

● Judith Collins is National's Spokesperson for Housing & Urban Development and Spokesperson for Planning (RMA Reform).