Wellington, July 11, 2017
Making life better for New Zealanders is why I came into politics, and it is what drives me as Prime Minister.
It is what this National-led Government is busy doing every day – whether by building better roads and more houses, more schools, classrooms and hospitals, or connecting more people to ultra-fast broadband.
Over the next four years, we will be investing $32.5 billion to future proof our country, respond to growth, and build a better New Zealand.
A real live example of this is the Waterview Tunnel in Auckland. Now officially open to traffic, it represents the biggest change to Auckland’s transport system since the Harbour Bridge opened in 1959.
It is the final link in the $2.4 billion Western Ring Route – one of the Government’s seven Roads of National Significance.
It is a 48-kilometre motorway alternative to State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and will help people get to and from the Auckland Airport.
It is expected to produce wider economic benefits worth $430 million and create more than 18,000 jobs through improved productivity and reduced travel time.
The Western Ring Route is just one of many transport infrastructure projects this Government is investing in right across the country to support a growing economy.
For example, the Huntly and Hamilton sections of the Waikato Expressway, and the motorways into and around Christchurch.
And earlier this year we opened the $630 million Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway on the Kapiti Coast – four months ahead of schedule. Just last week, Minister of Transport Simon Bridges turned the sod on the Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway.
Another way we are meeting the needs of our growing economy is in housing.
We are currently experiencing our biggest ever building boom, particularly in Auckland where latest figures show construction has increased by 21 per cent since last May.
And just last week, we announced a significant project to build and refurbish over 700 homes in the Hutt Valley, and 145 houses in Wellington.
These latest announcements show this Government’s housing programme is pulling every available lever to get more houses built so we can get more families into homes.
Of course, there is always more to do – we are just getting started.
The next stage is to allocate the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will help build tens of thousands of new homes sooner and faster. I should be able to tell you more about this soon.
This economy is growing, and we see it as a mark of success. While other parties reach for the too-hard basket, or say we need a ‘breather’, this National-led Government embraces the opportunities of growth. We are proud of our success and look forward to leading a confident country into the 2020s.
Bill English is Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is seen here with Transport Minister Simon Bridges at the Waterview Tunnel worksite in Auckland.