New Zealand’s money man doesn’t seem to know what Queenstown needs financial help for – despite a 410-page plan its council just adopted, outlining exactly that.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson was in Queenstown on Tuesday and told Chamber of Commerce members he’s “open to the conversation” with Queenstown about finding different ways to fund close to $1 billion of infrastructure over the next 10 years.
First, though, he wants to know “what it’s for” … and says we need an infrastructure plan.
Three weeks ago Queenstown’s council adopted its most ambitious long-term plan, which includes the $327 million town centre masterplan.
It outlines $990m of work to be done between now and 2028, when that work will be done and how the council’s planning on funding it.
But in Queenstown, Robert-son didn’t seem to know about it.
“It’s all very well to generate money,” he says, “what’s it for?
“What is the infrastructure plan for this region?
“How is it integrated?
“We don’t want to just make a housing plan if we haven’t got a transport plan.
“We don’t want to make a transport plan if we haven’t got the horizontal infrastructure [three waters, roading, etc] sorted.
“So that’s the piece of work we’re wanting to do with the local council and then, over time, we’ll develop [alternative ways of funding it].”
Robertson says he’s had multiple conversations with mayor Jim Boult about Queenstown’s issues and while he’s directed an inquiry by the Productivity Commission to look at options for local government funding and financing, its report’s at least six months away.
He’s hoping the government, in conjunction with the council, can “start to come up with at least a plan” for our issues before then.