Regions are to benefit from $190m poured into capital projects – but what about those emission targets?

Announcing a package of regional capital projects worth about $190 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones mentioned climate change.

He said Regional New Zealand “will be a hive of activity in the coming months as the New Zealand Upgrade Programme delivers on its promise to modernise our infrastructure, prepare for climate change and help grow our economy”.

How well climate change has been taken into considerations is a good question.  In Britain, plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport face an uncertain future after the Court of Appeal said the government’s decision to allow it was unlawful.

According to CNN –

The British government’s contentious plans to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport have been blocked by an appeals court on environmental grounds, in a landmark victory for climate campaigners.

Heathrow authorities want to build the runway to increase the number of flights to and from the London airport.

The judges said the UK government, which threw its support behind the proposal, had failed to take into account what impact the move would have on Britain’s commitments under the 2016 Paris Agreement.

The Financial Times said the decision is not just a setback for Heathrow’s backers. It also holds implications for future infrastructure projects: the government will have to consider such proposals in light of its climate pledges, or risk being open to legal challenge.

It is a landmark moment, one that brings a much-needed dose of reality to Britain’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions to almost net zero by 2050.

Might  similar challenges be mounted in this country, taking the government’s zero carbon  target (by 2050) into account?

Let’s consider Milford Sound. There was a time when it could be reached only by sea or by walking there.

Donald Sutherland, Milford Sound’s first permanent resident, built the first hotel in Milford Sound in the late 1800s to accommodate the growing number of walkers arriving on what is now the Milford Track.

The opening of the Homer Tunnel in 1954 allowed road access to Milford Sound and visitors began to flock there.

Today you can visit the sound on a day tour or fly there and the investments announced today include $3 million to upgrade the Milford Aerodrome.

Will more climate change emissions result – or fewer?

Similar questions about developments versus government climate change targets could be made about other projects announced by Jones today.

Oh – and we also learned that applicants who miss out on the slops from one government trough can always line up for a more modest helping from another trough.

A previous Provincial Growth Fund application to redevelop the Ōpōtiki Harbour for $144 million was declined by Ministers in May 2018 due to its high cost and low returns.

The revised business case was able to demonstrate lower costs and a broader range of benefits. The business case for this project is available here.

Here’s how Jones has been kept busy today –

28 FEBRUARY 2020

Land, air and sea: regions to benefit from NZ Upgrade

Regional New Zealand will be a hive of activity in the coming months as the New Zealand Upgrade Programme delivers on its promise to modernise our infrastructure, prepare for climate change and help grow our economy.

As part of the $12 billion NZ Upgrade Programme announced by the Government last month, $300 million was allocated for capital projects in regional New Zealand.

The first package of regional projects – worth about $190 million – has been announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones at an infrastructure seminar today.

“Today I’m announcing capital investments in land, air and sea assets that will enhance regional economic opportunities, create jobs, boost infrastructure resilience and help our regions thrive,” Shane Jones said.

“This funding boost has allowed us to get projects underway that may not have been an exact fit with the Provincial Growth Fund criteria but were worthy investments nonetheless.

“We’re announcing investments in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Otago, West Coast, Canterbury and Southland.

“This includes $88.2 million on roads, almost $90 million in coastal assets and upgrades to Taupo and Milford airports.

These projects have been included in the infrastructure pipeline to bring more certainty and planning ability to the broader infrastructure sector.

“The projects we’ve been able to accelerate thanks to the PGF and the NZ Upgrade Programme are another demonstration of our commitment to infrastructure and our regions and I’m proud to be able to make these announcements today,” Shane Jones said. 

28 FEBRUARY 2020

NZ Upgrade on South Island roads

 Safety and climate change resilience are behind South Island regional roading projects that are being brought forward as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

“I’m pleased to announce $88.25 million on a major accelerated road investment plan with construction able to get underway on some projects by the end of August.

 “The South Island investment is about $25 million with six projects selected from West Coast to Canterbury.”

The investment is expected to contribute to regional economic development while providing safer roads, safer bridges, and easier-to-access stopping points.

“Some of the intersections we’re addressing are classed as high-risk and need immediate attention. We’re also acknowledging the climate change chaos caused by regular flooding from the Kakanui River flood plain in the South Island’s Otago region.

 “The funding will be used to raise a 200-metre section of the State Highway 1 north of Kakanui River and South of Oamaru where a series of culverts will be installed to reduce risk of road closure. This spot on State Highway 1 is regularly closed for up to two days at a time due to flooding events.”

The New Zealand Transport Agency will contribute $1 million for operational resource support to deliver the projects on deadline.

8 FEBRUARY 2020

Milford gets connected with NZ Upgrade

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced the government will be investing $13 million to improve digital and air connectivity to Fiordland.

 “The region’s recent flooding, road and track closures highlight the fragility of the infrastructure in Milford Sound and the need for increased resilience.

 “Improved digital connectivity will allow Fiordland to keep pace with other regions to develop business, employment and tourism opportunities. It allows people to work outside urban centres, gain sustainable employment and ensure talent can stay in the regions.

 “Reliability of telecommunications in the region, and public safety for those travelling to Milford Sound tourist destinations is another factor in the investment.”

The $10 million invested in the Milford Fibre Link builds on an existing connectivity project for the region announced in June. The project will provide connections between 11 mobile towers and  allow greater internet coverage to the Fiordland community and the more than 1 million tourists who visit Milford Sound annually.

The $3 million to upgrade the Milford Aerodrome will address safety concerns by resealing the runway, apron and taxiway and providing improved drainage at the aerodrome.

“The aerodrome is critical to the community and ensures transport resilience in the event of road closures,” Shane Jones said.

28 FEBRUARY 2020

NZ Upgrade for West Coast ports and roads

West Coast ports and roads will benefit from an investment of $18.6 million to improve safety and resilience and enable future economic growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

 West Coast ports will receive an $8.5 million funding package to help secure the region’s fishing industry and restore the financial sustainability of its ports.

      • $4 million to the Buller District Council to install floating pontoons at Westport.
      • $4 million to Grey District Council to install floating pontoons at Greymouth.
      • $ 500,000 to Westland District to repair the wharves at Jacksons Bay, south of Haast.

West Coast state highways will receive $10.1 million to improve safety and resilience. The funding announced today will go to:

      • $5 million for safety retrofit upgrades for up to six single lanes bridges on State Highway 73 and 6.
      • $3.6 million for State Highway 67 seawall protection at Granity.
      • $1.5 million for a cycle and walkway clip-on to the State Highway 6 Tatare Bridge at Franz Josef.

28 FEBRUARY 2020

NZ Upgrade on North Island regional roads

Regional roading projects to improve safety and resilience are being brought forward as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The North Island investment is about $62 million with seven projects selected from Northland, the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki.

This investment is expected to contribute to regional economic development while providing safer roads, safer bridges, and easier to access stopping points.

The New Zealand Transport Agency will contribute $1 million for operational resource support to deliver the projects on deadline.

28 FEBRUARY 2020

Ōpōtiki Harbour finally gets green light

The Eastern Bay of Plenty will finally get the harbour development it has wanted for decades, thanks to a $79.4 million central Government investment, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

“Ōpōtiki Harbour has been in the pipeline for such a long time with successive governments unable to make the project stack up. With the full attention of officials from the Provincial Development Unit, including engineer Rosie Mercer from the Fund’s Independent Advisory Panel, we have been able to develop a concept that is fit-for-purpose yet affordable,” Shane Jones said.

“Building a new harbour to support the growth of aquaculture is the biggest transformational investment the Provincial Growth Fund has made to date and will unlock the largest economic development opportunities in the region. 

“World demand for sustainable seafood is increasing rapidly and large scale aquaculture requires a safe, accessible harbour for harvesting produce and servicing boats. Today’s announcement will provide safe access for more boats into the harbour allowing Ōpōtiki to become a major servicing base for aquaculture and other marine related industries.”

The new harbour will enable significant aquaculture initiatives in the region to get underway, including mussel farming. This will be the catalyst for private investment in marine-related industries, wharves and a residential development.

The project is expected to create around 1,850 jobs, including over 730 in Ōpōtiki. Around 200 jobs will be created during the building phase through work on the harbour construction.

The Ōpōtiki District Council’s economic modelling conservatively predicts the harbour development will produce $132 million in economic benefits for New Zealand. The overall cost of the project is $99.4 million with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council committing $20 million to it.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.