Coronavirus: NZTA contractors to get advance payment while work halted during lockdown

Contractors working on NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) infrastructure projects across the country are set to get paid in advance, in a bid to make sure the industry faces as little disruption as possible during the COVID-19 crisis.

The move is designed to ensure the workforce is retained and the projects can quickly continue once the lockdown is over, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said on Wednesday.

"The decision to bring payments forward will provide financial relief through the four-week lockdown period to enable suppliers to retain their workforces, ensuring they can quickly restart work and be in a strong position to respond to any future Government infrastructure packages," Twyford said.

"While we’ve put the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders first by going hard and early with our response to the pandemic, we are also planning for the post-lockdown economy."

It is hoped the infrastructure projects will help provide much-needed stimulus to the economy once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a $12 billion package aimed at improving the country's lagging infrastructure. The plan aims to upgrade roads, rail and other necessary transport infrastructure while also future-proofing it.

All non-essential work on infrastructure projects has now been halted while the country is in lockdown, apart from critical state highway maintenance work which will continue in order to ensure safe movement of goods and service during the COVID-19 response. 

The advance payments are available to all NZTA contractors who currency have National Land Transport Programme funded projects in process.