Budget 2020 is about rebuilding together, supporting jobs, getting business moving and the books back into the black. It’s an integral part of our COVID-19 economic response, and our plan to grow our economy and get New Zealand moving again.
Here’s a quick look at the five top things you need to know from this year’s Budget:
1. It’s about COVID recovery
In the face of a global health pandemic, we took decisive action to protect jobs, incomes, and businesses from the economic impacts of COVID-19. From the outset, we knew the best economic response was a strong health response. Our success on that front now means we have the opportunity to restart our economy faster than many of our trading partners. Nevertheless, we know the global downturn will be felt here. Budget 2020 is about continuing to cushion the impact of COVID-19, and taking the next steps to rebuild New Zealand together.
2. It’s about jobs, jobs, and more jobs
To get our economy moving, our focus needs to be on jobs. Budget 2020 is about just that: creating new jobs, training people for the jobs we have, and helping people keep their jobs or get into new ones.
From extending the wage subsidy to supporting those most in need, to creating over 10,000 new environmental jobs, this year’s Budget will get people into work and help them stay in work. We’re also providing free trades and apprenticeships training so people can upskill and retrain, creating jobs building an extra 8,000 public and transitional houses, supporting Māori trades training, and much more.
With this Budget, projections show unemployment could be back below 5% within two years - and our economy will be growing again as early as next year.
3. It’s about supporting Kiwi businesses
We’re confident in the ability of Kiwi businesses to succeed in the face of COVID-19. Historically, they’ve proven to be innovative and resilient, and this Budget is tailored to enable their success.
Budget 2020 builds on the measures our Government has already put in place to protect jobs and incomes. Many New Zealanders will be back at work now, but we know there will be some businesses that are still struggling. That’s why Budget 2020 features a $4bn business support package, which includes a targeted wage subsidy extension to help protect jobs.
We’re also backing Kiwi businesses by supporting exporters to boost trade in key markets, providing $230 million to encourage entrepreneurship and kickstart growth, helping SMEs increase sales through e-commerce, and protecting small businesses and consumers from unfair practices.
We’re also providing targeted support for heavily impacted industries like tourism and the media - and there’ll be more to come.
4. It’s about investing in our communities and services
Alongside the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, the Budget includes investment to strengthen local communities and regions, and ensure essential public services like health, education, Police, and social services receive the funding they need to continue operating at a high standard.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to have a well-funded health care system. That’s why Budget 2020 delivers the biggest-ever increase in District Health Board (DHB) funding - continuing our record of tackling the last Government’s legacy of underfunding and neglect in this area.
We’re also lifting support for New Zealanders with disabilities, boosting family violence services, giving a pay increase to our Early Childhood Education teachers, and expanding our Lunches in Schools programme to feed 200,000 more children, which will create an estimated 2,000 more jobs.
5. It’s about protecting the environment
Budget 2020 will create over 10,000 new jobs in regional New Zealand, restoring and protecting our environment. It will also support tourism operators to locally redeploy staff.
We’re putting $433 million into improving the health of New Zealand's waterways and supporting economic recovery, in partnership with local government and farmers. This investment in regional environmental projects will create 4,000 jobs over five years.
This Budget will supercharge the efforts of iwi, the Department of Conservation, and communities to upgrade walking tracks, control pests and weeds, restore wetlands, and return native bush to health, helping our native flora and fauna to thrive.
We’re also establishing a new $200 million Jobs For Nature Fund. This initiative will get people back into employment while protecting our environment - a win-win.
These are just a few ways Budget 2020 is helping people stay employed or find new jobs as New Zealand begins to rebuild in the wake of COVID-19.
Head here for more detail about Budget 2020: Rebuilding Together.