Labour is focused on building a secure future for New Zealand, and growing a strong economy that gives security in good times and in bad.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen just how important this is, as together, we’ve weathered the uncertainties of the pandemic. Our strong COVID response has seen our economy recovering faster than almost any other country in the world – with GPD growing, exports up, and unemployment at record lows.
Now, we’re rolling out our plan to support New Zealanders through new challenges, and build a high wage, low emissions economy that will provide a secure future for everyone. Whether it’s helping businesses switch to renewable energy or putting in place vital infrastructure, our investments will make a real difference for Kiwis, now and in years to come.
The latest figures show that as we take the next steps in our economic plan, our recovery is gaining momentum.
Growing a strong economy that leaves no one behind
We’ve shown we can manage the economy responsibly, while making targeted investments to improve New Zealanders’ lives and to meet long term challenges, like climate change and housing. Our careful management of the Governments books means our debt levels are much lower than many other countries. Now we’re in a strong position to return to surplus quicker than the previous National Government did after the Global Financial Crisis, and we’re increasing investment in infrastructure. As we take the next steps toward a high wage, low emissions economy, we’ll continue to ensure that no one is left behind.
Lifting incomes and easing the pressure on Kiwis
Since coming into office, we’ve consistently worked hard to ease cost pressures and lift Kiwis’ incomes. While our economy is growing and unemployment is at a record low, we know that global pressures are impacting prices here at home. That’s why we’ve stepped up our efforts to ease the financial pressure on New Zealanders.
Through Budget 2022, we’ve introduced a short term cost of living payment for more than two million people earning less than $70,000 who don’t already receive the Winter Energy Payment. We’ve further extended the fuel tax cut, reduced road user charges and half price public transport to provide further relief in the face of global price hikes. We’ve also permanently halved the price of public transport for Kiwis on low incomes, and we’ve taken action on supermarkets to make sure Kiwis are paying a fair price at the checkout.
All of this builds on the work we’ve already done to address cost of living pressures on households since coming into Government. We’re provided a historic boost to main benefits to lift more children out of poverty. We’ve consistently increased the minimum wage, introduced the Families Package – including Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment, extended free and low cost doctors’ visits to children under 14, and lots more.
We’re supporting Kiwis into work and training, and ensuring New Zealand has the skilled workforce needed to build back better. We’ve already seen more than 190,000 New Zealanders taking up our free trades training and apprenticeships, and we’ve announced an extension to the Apprenticeship Boost scheme which will see a further 38,000 Kiwis supported into a trade.
Right across the country, we’re creating thousands of jobs through crucial infrastructure projects, as well as programmes to protect our environment and clean up our waterways. We're also building thousands of new state houses, supporting jobs in the construction sector and helping more families into homes.
Investing in infrastructure
We’re investing $57.3 billion in infrastructure over the next five years to drive economic growth, increase productivity, and address the long-term national underinvestment in infrastructure. Right across the country, we’re improving roads, schools, and hospitals and we’re fast-tracking key development and infrastructure projects to help get Aotearoa moving.
- We will implement a major support package to assist businesses in hiring at least 40,000 New Zealanders whose employment is impacted by COVID-19.
- We will prioritise investments in our regions with a new targeted $200m Regional Strategic Partnership Fund to support their economic development.
- We will invest in world class digital infrastructure to boost rural connectivity.
While we are now in a stronger position than many other countries, the global situation will continue to be very challenging, especially for an export nation like us.
Labour is already rolling out our plan to keep New Zealanders safe and keep the recovery moving:
- Investing in our people: We’re putting people at the heart of our plan. We cushioned the blow with the wage subsidy which supported around 1.7 million jobs, we’ve made apprenticeships free, we’re increasing incomes for the most vulnerable Kiwis and have invested in extra mental health and wellbeing support.
- Jobs, jobs, jobs: Our recovery and rebuild is focused on getting Kiwis back to work and training those who are out of work. We’re creating thousands of jobs on crucial infrastructure projects, along with almost 11,000 new jobs right around New Zealand to protect our environment and clean up our waterways, and we're building thousands of new state houses.
- Preparing for the future: This is our chance to build back better and take on the challenges that lie ahead by investing in clean energy, housing and our environment.
- Supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs and job creators: Small and medium enterprises are at the heart of our economy. That’s why we backed them through the COVID outbreak and continue to support them to grow and export, with tax refunds, interest free loans and more.
- Position New Zealand globally: As a trading nation, we need international customers. That’s why we’re helping exporters connect with overseas markets and negotiating trade deals with the UK and the EU.
Labour will continue to put wellbeing at the centre of our economic plan, making sure our next three Budgets continue on the path we established with New Zealand’s first Wellbeing Budget in 2019. The economy exists to serve our people, and we’ll make sure it does.