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Economist says roading should be a 'priority' in Govt's infrastructure spending


Economist Cameron Bagrie says the Government's top priority should be roading as it announces plans to accelerate its infrastructure package.

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Cameron Bagrie examines how the roll-out of new spending initiatives might play out. Source: Q+A

The Government has pledged to boost the economy by borrowing money to bring forward a number of major infrastructure projects.

The spend-up was announced at Labour’s annual conference at the weekend.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said specific projects were still being finalised, but it would be spread across the country.

Cameron Bagrie, told TVNZ1’s Q+A that an infrastructure boost is the right decision but that roading should be a priority.

"As the prime minister noted, interest rates are low, we've got infrastructure deficits, Government debt is low, you know, that's called a winning trifecta," he says.

He told Q+A host Jack Tame the top priority for the Government should be roading.

"I think the Government made a pretty big mistake when they pilfered money out of the highway network and wound back the Roads of National Significance.

"We want to get a productivity dividend, we want to get a growth dividend, we've got to get that infrastructure right and roading is at the epicentre of that."

When asked how much the Government should be spending Mr Bagrie says there is "no ideal number".

"We are after quality spend not quantity spend," he says.

"We are going to be going through the details when we get the half-year economic and fiscal update."

Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.