Joseph Mooney - MP for Southland

2 minutes read
Posted 28 February, 2024
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Southland on the move – Infrastructure and resource management in the fast lane

All of us rely on infrastructure in our everyday lives. Having high-quality, modern and resilient infrastructure drives economic growth, boosts productivity, and enhances our way of life. It is the foundation of a successful economy.

Yet New Zealand has a significant deficit, which has become worse thanks to the last government’s economic mismanagement. An Auditor-General report last year into Labour’s spending highlighted how cavalier and reckless Ministers were about committing billions of tax payer dollars to projects without the required due diligence being done.

The National-led Coalition Government will do things differently. We are committed to getting multi-generational infrastructure built up and down this country, and have already begun work on a National Infrastructure Agency as part of our 100-day plan.

The landscape of infrastructure and resource management in our Southland electorate is also shifting gears. On 2 February, the Government announced proposed changes to resource management laws which promise a fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime for major projects that will benefit our region’s economic future and environmental well-being.

The new regime aims to streamline approvals for crucial infrastructure, unlocking opportunities in our region. It will allow for faster construction of roads, bridges, and energy projects, and boosting jobs and regional development.

The regime will consist of a new fast-track process contained in a standalone Act, with its own purpose statement focused on economic development. The full details of this Bill are being worked through by Minsters now, and the aim is to have the Bill introduced into Parliament by 8 March as part of our 100 Day Action Plan. I am also seeking input from the Queenstown Lakes District Council on what they see as priorities for the infrastructure in this area that I can convey to relevant Ministers.

The Government will further restore council ownership and control of water assets to give much needed clarity to the local government sector by repealing and replacing Labour’s controversial Three Waters legislation.

It’s clear the previous government’s approach of removing community control of water assets and prescribing co-governance was hugely unpopular and proposed a one size fits all approach to water services delivery.

The Coalition Government will instead implement a new regime which recognises the importance of local decision-making and flexibility for communities and councils to determine how their water services will be delivered in future. We are committed to addressing the water infrastructure challenges that are jeopardising our nation’s health and prosperity and driving up costs for households across the country.

We will do this while ensuring a strong emphasis on meeting rules for water quality and long-term investment in infrastructure.
Building infrastructure is a key to growing the economy, and that matters because it’s only with a strong economy that New Zealand can reduce the cost-of-living and interest rates, lift incomes, and afford the public services you deserve. Delivering infrastructure will be at the heart of this National-led Government.


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