Budget 2023: Why the Government's coughing up $6 billion for new infrastructure plan

The Government is coughing up $6 billion for a new infrastructure plan to "build back better" after Cyclone Gabrielle.

It will focus on future-proofing roads, rail, telecommunications and electricity networks.

The vulnerability of New Zealand's roads was laid bare by Cyclone Gabrielle as key access routes were covered in landslides, torn into bits and wiped out by floodwaters. 

Climate change is severing supply chains and isolating communities.

"I think there's a lot of anger in this community. I think that anger is revolving around access now," said Tutira farmer Paul Harris

The Government wants to prevent that in the future to "build back better".

So, it's digging deep - creating a new $6 billion National Resilience Plan.

"The initial focus of investments will likely be on road, rail and local resilience," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson. 

"This is the Government of infrastructure. You might hear others talking about it but they don't deliver," said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

While the sector is pleased, it said it's about more than just money.

"We lack people, we lack the kind of environment to be able to effectively build this as quickly as we need to," said Nick Leggett from Infrastructure NZ.

But the pressure is on because extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. New Zealand's roads keep crumbling and homes will continue disappearing under floodwaters.

"Since we bought this property in 2020, within 8 months we were impacted by the flood," said west Auckland flood victim Trushar Maisuria.

After being flooded five times already this year, Maisuria's home has been yellow-stickered.

"When it is raining we feel anxiety kick in," said Maisuria. 

Finding the funds to fix the climate carnage hasn't been easy.

"Putting this Budget together has required challenging trade-offs and decisions," said Robertson.

"This includes facing up to the cost of the second biggest natural disaster New Zealand has ever faced."

The Government's facing up to the cost of trying to prevent disasters in the first place. The Budget includes nearly $2 billion of new climate-related spending to drive down emissions including things like more electric vehicle charging points, cheaper public transport and better insulation in homes.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said he was "pleasantly surprised" because "these were things that we'd been campaigning on for a very long time."