The CCNZ says while it applauds the ‘investment in people’ in the Government’s 2021 Budget, its sees a “worrying lack of certainty” in the forward infrastructure work programme for transport and water networks.
CCCNZ chief executive Peter Silcock says more certainty and consistency is needed in a work programme that seemed to be eternally reassessed to provide long-term opportunities for workers. Longer-term vision is needed about when projects were brought to market, or by the time people had finished training in civil infrastructure apprenticeships, the money might run out, he says.
“Increased infrastructure investment is good, but the budget brings with it a bulge of early investment, followed by uncertainty and potential underinvestment further down the track. For the people currently training, more certainty of the work ahead is needed.”
It is hard to believe the NZ Upgrade Programme projects announced in January 2020 will be put back to the drawing board once again, he adds, and the concern now is how long these projects will be on held for, and how much more money will be spent on re-scoping and re-budgeting projects that have already been given the greenlight.
The proposed increase in water investment of $296 million is also ‘a drop in the ocean’ when considered against increasing demands on the aging water network, and was targeted to remodelling the way water was administrated rather than work on the ground.
On a more positive note, Silcock says it is great the uncertainty created by combining rail investment with the existing National Land Transport Fund has been resolved in the short term to help offset decades of underinvestment in rail.
“Putting this additional rail funding into the National Land Transport Fund recognises the move to ‘multi-modal’ projects now funded from this fund, and the impact this has on our investment in roading and road maintenance.”