Collins' Comments: 9 May 2017

Collins' Comments
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

By 2025, New Zealand should be using 90 per cent renewable resources for electricity generation. We are well on track to achieve this.

At the end of the last December quarter, a full 88 per cent of our electricity was from renewable resources. Some jurisdictions such as the UK and California count nuclear power as renewable. Most don’t have our diversity of supply but we are very fortunate that some visionary New Zealanders supported building our large hydro-resources in previous years. 

In addition to hydro, we also have geothermal, natural gas and wind power. For some, solar has been and will, with new technologies, become more widely used. We can also top up with coal, making sure that we have the resilience in the network. This means we won’t have the situation that South Australia recently had whereby largescale power outages occurred due to extreme weather.

To further reduce emissions, our Government is investing $1.2 billion in public transport, infrastructure and services, including supporting the electrification of the Auckland commuter rail system and spending $485 million upgrading rail services in Wellington. 

With Government encouragement, the registration of electric vehicles has already reached 3,000, which is the halfway-mark for 2017. The number of fast chargers available to drivers is now at 50 and growing, making the use of EVs more practical.

The $333 million urban cycleways programme will continue to be delivered throughout New Zealand and I will be supporting local councils to install cycleways in appropriate places away from major truck routes!  

Ahead of the May 2017 Budget, Minister of Finance Steven Joyce has announced that the Government will be investing an additional $11 billion in infrastructure across the country. The details will be announced in the Budget but in the meantime, this is great news for Auckland.

The NZTA recently announced Auckland’s transport options will be improved Route Protection plan. This includes a mass transit corridor between Auckland Airport and the city centre and a route for the second Waitemata Harbour crossing.

Across the country, road safety will be targeted in 90 high-risk spots on rural State Highways and $600 million will be invested to bring down New Zealand’s road toll.

Meanwhile, $212 million will continue to be spent on the Accelerated Regional Roading Programme which has resulted in State Highway projects across 14 regions. This brings our investment in better transport infrastructure and services to $20 billion since 2008. This Government recognises the need for New Zealand to catch up on developing and improving its roads and transport systems. 

In Budget 2016 we were forecasting just $3.6 billion in new capital spend between Budget 2017 and Budget 2020 compared to $11 billion now. The $11 billion is on top of investments already planned by the Government.

We want to extend the investment further, with greater use of public-private partnerships, and joint ventures between central and local government and private investors.

It’s an exciting time, as our Government encourages the use of new technologies and developing infrastructure to improve our way of life in New Zealand.