While the Budget 2017 announcements on 25 May had a strong emphasis on the new tax packages, below the headlines there were a number of positive aspects in the Budget for the engineering profession.
The Government will invest $9.17 billion in capital into New Zealand’s State Highways over the next four years. This is made up of:
- $4.84 billion from the National Land Transport Fund (conventional funding)
- $1 billion in committed Crown funding for the reinstatement of State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch ($812 million), and the balance for the Auckland Transport Package and Regional State Highways Package
- $1.43 billion in public-private partnerships for the Transmission Gully highway and the Puhoi to Warkworth highway)
- $1.9 billion in other funding from NZ Transport Agency.
Budget 2017 will invest $548 million of new capital funding to maintain and upgrade New Zealand’s rail network, of which $450 million will be invested over the next two financial years. The Government is providing $436 million of new capital for Auckland’s City Rail Link, and $98.4 million in Wellington’s metro rail network.
The $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund is designed to assist high-growth councils in financing the necessary infrastructure – the water supply, stormwater, wastewater and roading – to open up new housing areas. Budget 2017 provides a further $3.5 million to administer this fund.
Also included is the new $102 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund to provide $100 million over the next four years in partnership with local councils and other community organisations, for projects such as new carparks, toilets and freedom camping facilities.
Science and Innovation
Budget 2017 has funded $203 million for Science and Innovation over four years and this includes $40.5 million in strategic science investments to explore natural hazards and the Antarctic environment. The natural hazards funding will help improve New Zealand’s natural hazards monitoring capability by developing new tools to improve the reliability and clarity of disaster alerts and warnings, including a funding boost for planning around events such as tsunamis.
$74.6 million is being funded over four years to meet rising demand for Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development Growth Grants and $6 million has been funded over three years for the expansion of the Strategic Innovation Partnerships Programme to deliver on its goal of attracting 10 multinational companies to undertake R&D activity in New Zealand by 2020.
Budget 2017 will allocate $5.2 million over the next four years of reprioritised funding from Vote Tertiary Education to expand Teach First NZ, an employment-based initial school teacher education programme to lift the number of science, technology and maths teachers.
Find out more about Budget 2017