The National Party will appoint an infrastructure minister if it wins the election, its leader Don Brash announced today.

Dr Brash announced his party's energy and infrastructure policy during visits to Hamilton, Tokoroa and Taupo.

"For the past six years New Zealand's main infrastructure development has been piecemeal and haphazard, and this has hindered economic development and future planning," he said.

Good roads and access to energy were vital for the country's growth and an infrastructure minister would ensure that important projects progressed in a timely and cost-effective manner, he said.

The new minister would work with departments and ministers in areas such as transport, energy, communications, building issues, environment, railways and airways.

The minister would also be involved in rewriting the Resource Management Act, which National has pledged it would overhaul within nine months of forming a government.

Reforms to the Act were critical to solving roading and electricity crises, Dr Brash said.

National would also establish an "environmental protection authority" that would develop environmental standards and policy statements.

Under National's energy policy Dr Brash said National would axe the Government's proposed carbon tax, currently scheduled for 2007, and reassess the country's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The party would address coastal access issues that created barriers to oil and gas exploration, and would form an electricity generation and transmission plan would be formed in partnership with the industry.

Electricity lines companies would be allowed to enter the generation market, with no limits on the capacity they could own.

Under current rules -- part of the energy reforms National introduced in the 1990s -- lines companies face strict rules on generating or selling power.

Lines companies are allowed to have up to 50 megawatts of power plant or up to 20 per cent of their peak load, whichever is higher, and an unlimited amount of renewable generation such as wind farms.

Dr Brash also said a National-led government would also review the rules that prevent lines companies from entering the electricity retailing and hedge markets.

- nzpa