This year’s Budget is about rebuilding New Zealand together in the face of COVID-19. Jobs are central to how we’re going to do that. There’s a lot of targeted investment for employment in this year’s Budget, with announcements on creating new jobs, training people for the jobs we have, and supporting people to keep their jobs or get into work.
Treasury projections show that Budget 2020 could mean unemployment is back at current levels in just two years, and that our economy could be growing again as early as next year.
Keep reading to find out how Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund will help us rebuild, together.
1. Supporting people to stay in work
We introduced the Wage Subsidy Scheme as part of our immediate response to COVID-19, to keep as many New Zealanders as possible in work. We have now paid out more than $10.7 billion, supporting almost 1.7 million Kiwi jobs.
Through Budget 2020, we’re extending the Wage Subsidy Scheme, to help businesses continue to employ people and make sure as many New Zealanders as possible stay in work. The subsidy extension will be for eight weeks and paid as a lump sum to the employers, at the same weekly rates as the current scheme. This scheme will give businesses a greater chance to succeed and help people hold onto their jobs and incomes.
We’re also providing targeted support for certain critical industries, like construction and agritech, to boost the economy and keep people in jobs.
2. Creating jobs across the country
Budget 2020 is about creating jobs all across New Zealand through a number of key initiatives.
We’re creating jobs and boosting employment in the regions with $3 billion towards infrastructure projects. This investment is in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme of infrastructure investments, already creating jobs across the country.
Construction sector jobs
In addition, we’re working with the construction sector to accelerate the public house building programme, building an extra 6,000 public houses and 2,000 transitional homes to stimulate the residential construction sector and create jobs.
We’re getting more people into work with almost 11,000 new environmental jobs in the regions. Including upgrading walking tracks, wetland restoration, and pest eradication, these local jobs will help protect our environment and clean up waterways, while boosting regional economies and getting people into work. The new Jobs for Nature Programme will partner DoC with councils, iwi, and local businesses such as tourism operators, to employ people across New Zealand.
3. Training people for jobs
We’re helping New Zealanders get the skills they need to get into work, with free trades and apprenticeships training.
With our $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package, we’re supporting New Zealanders of all ages to receive trades training in critical industries, funding employers to retain and keep training their apprentices, and providing particular support for Māori trades training.
We’re also helping at least 10,000 recently unemployed New Zealanders get training and work opportunities in the primary sector with a $19.3 million investment over four years. Farmers, growers, and producers will play a critical role in New Zealand’s economic recovery and we need a skilled workforce to help us seize the opportunities currently before us. We’ll also be working with industry to provide essential skills to help workers settle into primary sector roles and lifestyles.
4. Enabling businesses to grow and thrive
To create jobs, we must support our businesses to grow. In our initial economic response to COVID-19, we went hard and early to support New Zealand businesses with the $10.7 billion wage subsidy, $3 billion tax refund scheme, the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, and the Business Finance Guarantee.
We’re backing Kiwi exporters, encouraging entrepreneurship, and helping SMEs succeed in the digital economy. All of these measures will support and protect Kiwi businesses and encourage job security and creation.
5. Supporting our communities (and creating more jobs!)
We’re expanding the Lunches in Schools programme to 200,000 more children, helping to lighten the load on families that might be struggling. The programme will make an immediate difference to our children’s learning - and it will create jobs across the country: from the chefs preparing the food, to the drivers delivering them to our schools and kura.
Read more about Budget 2020: our next step to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy here.