24 Jun 2021

Clean drinking water is public's number one priority - survey

6:49 am on 24 June 2021

Clean drinking water is the public's number one infrastructure priority according to the Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga.

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Photo: 123RF

More than 23,000 responses to the survey on New Zealand's infrastructure also found strong support for improved public transport and reduced investment in new roads, as well as climate change action.

The feedback will help the commission develop a 30-year infrastructure strategy.

"Our report shows the impact our country's infrastructure issues are having on all areas of people's lives and it's given us a clear indication of the things they want to see addressed. It's a huge challenge and action needs to start now," Te Waihanga chief executive Ross Copland said.

Not always having access to safe drinking water was the number one infrastructure issue, with four out of five wanting to see an increased investment in water networks to solve current issues.

Creating too much waste and ageing schools and hospitals were the second and third most important issues.

There survey found people placed a higher priority on the 'planet' in future decision-making than 'jobs' and 'people'.

There was also strong support for a reduction in the amount of waste, support for a move away from the use of fossil fuels in transport, while reducing the need to travel by implementing non-built infrastructure options, such as working from home.

The infrastructure strategy was be presented as a draft to the minister for infrastructure in September, with a final strategy to be tabled in Parliament by early 2022.

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