Budget 2017: $4b to fix roads and rail

Finance Minister Steven Joyce (file)
Finance Minister Steven Joyce (file)

The Government's first Budget announcement for 2017 is to spend $4 billion on new infrastructure - focusing on rail and roads, including State Highway 1 near Kaikōura.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce says the highway repairs will cost $812 million while the rest of the package will be outlined at the Budget on May 25.

It is expected the City Rail Link in Auckland will also get a share of the money.

Mr Joyce says $11 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next four years.

It is all what's termed "new money" on top of already planned investments.

The Government has also set a new target to reduce net debt as a proportion of GDP to between 10 and 15 percent by 2025.

Net debt is expected to be at 24.3 percent of GDP by the end of this financial year, and the Government previously had a target of reducing debt to 20 percent by 2020.

Mr Joyce says the new target will help the country to "absorb future shocks" like that of the Canterbury earthquakes and the global financial crisis.

He signalled that a priority of the upcoming Budget is to "reduce the tax burden" on low to middle income earners - particularly marginal tax rates.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced earlier on Thursday that Budget 2017 will provide up to $812 million for reinstating State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch.

It will also make funding available for KiwiRail to continue its reinstatement work, while its insurance claim is finalised.