RTTNews - The New Zealand government has set aside NZ$7.5 billion in its budget for the next five years, to be used to build and upgrade schools, roads, housing, hospitals, and telecommunications, Finance Minister Bill English highlighted in a speech Wednesday.

At present infrastructure was publicly funded in the country, coming under the National Infrastructure Unit within the Treasury, and who's role it was to make assessment about current demands and planned investments. The private sector came within the advisory body, assisting and helping the government, English noted.

The minister sought more participation from the private sector in future, in the form of financing and operating infrastructure projects, to improve efficiency in the economy, similar to the case in Australia, where it worked for the latter country's benefit.

English said prisons could be one area where the private sector could play a greater role and asked the Corrections Department to look further into the issue. He said the private sector roles for prisons could range anywhere between designing, financing, building, operating and maintaining prison facilities, compared to its limited roles at present.

At the same time, English noted that the government would enter a public private partnership only if it works and delivers value for the taxpayer. Our interest is in increasing the performance of public assets across the board, English added.

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