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The Government's new Thirty Year New Zealand Infrastructure Plan is severely compromised, in that it fails to recognise climate change as the greatest threat to New Zealand's economy, says the Green Party.

Green finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter says while the report "does mention climate change in passing", that is followed up with justification of multi-billion dollar that "make it harder for New Zealanders to go about their lives without increasing pollution."

"While we strongly support long-term thinking around infrastructure planning and spending, by relegating climate change, National's infrastructure plan is already out-of-date," says Ms Genter.

"In thirty years' time, New Zealand's economy will need to be low carbon and resilient to rising sea levels and increased severe weather events."


Transport Minister Simon Bridges noted some ideas that may help New Zealand's infrastructure moving into the future - including self-driving cars, double-decker buses, and road tolls.

However, the Greens want a smarter, more consciously environmentally friendly commitment to infrastructure, to help maintain a stable climate and economy.

"It's not just the New Zealand Green Party saying this; countless reports including the recent Global Commission on the Economy and Climate emphasizes the urgent need for governments to plan for and invest in infrastructure that reduces carbon pollution," adds Ms Genter.

"National is out of step with governments and businesses around the world, who are acting now to seize the opportunities presented by the new climate economy. National's document looks like PR fluff - with no strong strategic direction underpinning the projects."

The Government says it wants to improve core systems such as water, sewage and roading, but simultaneously admits it does not yet understand the problems affecting these areas, and that achieving their goals would require significant reforms in the Resource Management Act.

"The reality is, National's current spending priorities will leave us locked in to a high-carbon future - one that will be increasingly uncompetitive compared to our main trading partners, and vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate," says Ms Genter.

"For example, in transport, National is borrowing billions of dollars to build low-value motorways, like Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth, while delaying critical, low carbon infrastructure like the City Rail Link in Auckland. High-carbon growth is no longer sustainable, economically or environmentally. Low-carbon growth, however, is a massive opportunity for businesses and governments alike, and we need to start planning and building the infrastructure that will support it."

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