Report: Kiwis want action on infrastructure

More than 23,000 New Zealanders have called for action to address the country’s infrastructure issues in a report published by the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga.

Safer drinking water, climate change action, increased public transport and reduced roading investment all feature in the Aotearoa 2050 report, which forms part of Te Waihanga’s work to develop a 30-year infrastructure strategy.

The report’s release follows a six-week campaign that asked for public feedback on the country’s infrastructure and received 23,638 responses and more than 8,500 comments.

Te Waihanga chief executive Ross Copland says the large response showed that New Zealanders recognise the important role of infrastructure and the need for change.

“New Zealanders care about how infrastructure impacts them, their whanau and communities and the environment. We know there are so many benefits when we get it right.

“Our report shows the impact our country’s infrastructure issues are having on all areas of people’s lives and it’s given us a clear indication of the things they want to see addressed. It’s a huge challenge and action needs to start now.”

The Aotearoa 2050 survey was open to New Zealanders for six-weeks from March 22 to May 2 and asked for feedback on significant infrastructure issues and what New Zealand might look like by 2050.

The Aotearoa 2050 report found:

– Not always having access to safe drinking water was the number one infrastructure issue for New Zealanders.

– Creating too much waste and our ageing schools and hospitals were the second and third most important issues.

– Four out of five New Zealanders want to see an increased investment in water networks to solve current issues.

– New Zealanders placed a higher priority on the ‘planet’ in future decision making than ‘jobs’ and ‘people’.

– Strong support for a reduction in the amount of waste New Zealanders produce.

– Support for a move away from the use of fossil fuels in transport.

– Reducing the need to travel by implementing non-built infrastructure options like working from home was popular.

Copland says Te Waihanga had recently released its He Tūāpapa ki te Ora, Infrastructure for a Better Future public consultation document which looked to take the report findings on board.

“This is New Zealand’s infrastructure strategy and we want to give people the opportunity to shape what goes into it.

“Over the past few months, we’ve been speaking to a range of people about the challenges and opportunities they’re seeing. Our consultation document is another opportunity to tell us if you agree with the options we think will help build a better future for Aotearoa.”

Te Waihanga is developing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for New Zealand, which will be presented as a draft to the Minister for Infrastructure in September 2021. The final strategy will be tabled in Parliament by early 2022.

This was followed up by public consultation on the He Tūāpapa ki te Ora, Infrastructure for a Better Future consultation document, which closed July 2. The document is the last step in the development of the infrastructure strategy before it is presented in September this year.