Over a thousand road and rail workers are back to work today to help kick-start the post-lockdown economy and get New Zealand moving, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Minister of Transport Phil Twyford announced today.
KiwiRail will have works start back up on almost all of their projects today, including the Kaikōura rebuild and Wellington metro upgrades. New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project City Rail Link starts back up today as well.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has approved the start up plans and works will restart this week on 25 of the 44 state highway projects in the construction phase around the country, including Transmission Gully and Pūhoi to Warkworth. All state highway and rail projects are expected to have works restart next Monday.
Winston Peters said the Government is getting the record infrastructure build back up and running as soon as possible to help support workers and businesses and kick-start economic activity.
“We’ve worked hard to help cushion the blow from COVID-19 with initiatives like the wage subsidy and advance payments to transport contractors; and we know the industry is now raring to go.
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is and getting people back to work day one of Alert Level 3 so we can get money into the pockets of businesses and workers sooner,” Winston Peters said.
Phil Twyford said it’s been a real team effort getting projects ready to restart.
“I’d like to thank the industry, Waka Kotahi, City Rail Link Ltd and KiwiRail for their efforts which will see well over 1,000 construction workers back on the job this week. For example, the Kaikōura rebuild will see around 450 road and rail workers back to work, City Rail Link expects 400 workers back this week, and Transmission Gully and Pūhoi to Warkworth will ramp back up to hundreds of workers at each.
“Major infrastructure projects like these and those contained in the New Zealand Upgrade programme will help provide much needed stimulus to the economy and guaranteed jobs.
“Moving to Alert Level 3 does not mean a return to pre-pandemic ways of working. Strict health and safety protocols are being followed at every site to keep workers and the public safe. These include restricting access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing and the use of additional protective clothing.
“It’s too soon to say whether COVID-19 has had any effect on construction timeframes on individual projects. My expectation is that project teams will look at accelerating works where possible,” Phil Twyford said.
Media contact for Winston Peters: Alex Masters 021 809 186
Media contact for Phil Twyford: Tom James 027 308 6010