Crown-owned com­pany to fund projects

Central Leader - - HEALTH & BEAUTY - HENRY COOKE

The Gov­ern­ment is putting $600 mil­lion into a new com­pany to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture for hous­ing de­vel­op­ments.

Its first job will be two Auck­land projects in­tended to sup­port 23,300 new homes in the north and south of the city.

The body, called Crown In­fra­struc­ture Part­ners, is be­ing formed by re-pur­pos­ing and re­nam­ing Crown Fi­bre Hold­ings - the com­pany set up to im­ple­ment the Ul­tra-Fast Broad­band (UFB) ini­tia­tive.

The move comes weeks af­ter the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced the re­cip­i­ents of the $1 bil­lion Hous­ing In­fra­struc­ture Fund, and in­di­cated more in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing was in the pipe­line.

Sev­eral coun­cils were keen to get more of the fund­ing but could not put an­other loan on their books without hurt­ing their credit rat­ing. Crown In­fra­struc­ture Part­ners will avoid this pit­fall by build­ing and own­ing the in­fra­struc­ture it­self.

‘‘Coun­cils will have the op­tion of buy­ing back the in­fra­struc­ture at some point in the fu­ture, but won’t have to com­mit to do­ing so,’’ Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Anne Tol­ley said.

‘‘This is all about in­tro­duc­ing out­side cap­i­tal to build this in­fra­struc­ture, so cur­rent ratepay­ers don’t get bur­dened with all the costs of growth.’’

The Gov­ern­ment will in­vest an ini­tial $600m and will look to get fur­ther cap­i­tal from coun­cils and pri­vate investors.

The first two projects on the agenda will be the Auck­land North and Auck­land South, two pro­pos­als that Auck­land coun­cil sub­mit­ted for the ini­tial Hous­ing In­fra­struc­ture Fund.

‘‘Th­ese two large projects can pro­vide an ad­di­tional 5500 homes in Wainui to the north of Auck­land, and 17,800 homes across Pukekohe, Paer­ata and Drury to the south of the city,’’ Tol­ley said.

The in­vest­ment in the south of the city would in­clude a $172m pack­age of new wa­ter in­fras­truc- ture, rail sta­tions at Paer­ata and Drury West, and $97m of new roads.

North Auck­land would see a Wainui Ar­te­rial road cost­ing around $60m, a $89m Cur­ley Av­enue bridge, and $52m in wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture.

‘‘The hand­brake has been a lack of in­fra­struc­ture such as road­ing, wa­ter and sew­er­age that sup­ports devel­op­ment. Build­ing cities costs a lot of money and in­fra­struc­ture is a large pro­por­tion of that cost.’’

‘‘Coun­cils will have the op­tion of buy­ing back the in­fra­struc­ture’’

SI­MON MAUDE/STUFF

Prime Min­is­ter Bill English has pledged a $600 mil­lion hous­ing in­jec­tion.

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