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IPW: New Zealand transport funding boost, and Hong Kong’s green buildings lead in decarbonisation

13 December 2022

In this week’s Infrastructure Policy Watch, New Zealand funds cheaper, sustainable infrastructure, and Hong Kong’s Green Building Council’s finance partnership.

IPW: New Zealand transport funding boost, and Hong Kong’s green buildings lead in decarbonisation
New Zealand’s new transport package will support communities through sustainable transport that improves connectivity. Image credit: Emagnetic/Shutterstock

New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport’s $350million funding pot to provide cheaper and more sustainable transport for communities

The New Zealand Ministry of Transport has announced NZ$350 million worth of funding for its new Transport Choices package.

This package gives 46 councils increased funding to build bus stops and lanes, cycleways, improvements to transport infrastructure around schools, and improved walking access for neighbourhoods.

As a whole, the package has been designed to:

  • provide more transport options for communities across New Zealand
  • address New Zealand’s current infrastructure deficit
  • meet future needs caused by population growth and climate change
  • reduce emissions to meet reduction targets as set out in the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan released in May 2022

Waka Kotahi, the New Zealand Transport Agency, will now work with successful councils in a two-stage process for delivery.

The first stage is to further refine and scope their project proposals, with construction beginning on some projects by June 2023.

ICE’s view

Funding transport in New Zealand through the Transport Choices package will improve inter-connectivity and give communities across New Zealand the transport infrastructure that they need.

There's no plausible path to net zero without significant transport emissions reductions and governments must follow New Zealand’s lead in continuing to develop more sustainable transport systems.

Economic growth is also bolstered by mutually supporting transport and services. Pairing infrastructure and economic growth is outlined in the ICE’s Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme.

Hong Kong’s Green Building Council joins forces with the financial sector to lead the way on decarbonisation

Hong Kong is becoming a world-leader in green finance.

The Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) is focusing on achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, with green buildings playing a key role as one of the four major decarbonisation strategies in Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2050.

HKGBC is focusing on raising green building awareness by engaging the government, the industry and the public to develop practical solutions for the city.

In Hong Kong, building-related activities account for 90% of total electricity consumption, generating over 60% of local carbon emissions. This is higher than the global average.

Making buildings more energy efficient will therefore play a key role in reducing the city’s carbon emissions.

The Bank of China and Bank of Communications have recently joined the HKGBC, highlighting the key role of green finance and the willingness of the banking sector to participate in conversations relating to mobilising decarbonisation.

ICE’s view

Business and private finance have a key role to play in financing the transition to net zero. Working closely with banks and other financial institutions will make it easier to facilitate the transition within Hong Kong.

The principal ask for the private sector is to show leadership in accelerating decarbonisation and ensure investment in transition initiatives while exploring new solutions.

With over 70% of total emissions coming from the global infrastructure system, fostering a faster net zero transition in infrastructure will be essential to meeting climate goals.

Sustainable finance is therefore needed to unlock future decarbonisation to keep Hong Kong and global economies on track for predicted climate targets.

The ICE has been discussing the next steps for financing and funding net zero through a briefing paper and we convened a recent international online panel debate as part of our Next Steps programme.

In case you missed it:

Check back in the new year for the next edition of the ICE's Infrastructure Policy Watch.

You can also sign up to ICE Informs to get a monthly digest of the latest policy activities from ICE, including calls for evidence to support our ongoing advice to policymakers.

  • Laura Cunliffe-Hall, interim lead policy manager at ICE