Economy & Finance

The best economic response to COVID-19 was a strong health response, and the results speak for themselves.

We’re now in a stronger position to bounce back faster than most other countries.

We are rolling out our plan to keep New Zealanders safe and keep the recovery moving. We’re continuing to support people to stay in jobs, help businesses to stay afloat, and invest in infrastructure so New Zealand can rebuild better.

Labour's 2020 campaign policies

  • 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.

Labour’s plan

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.

Labour’s achievements to date

During the COVID crisis

We went hard and fast to cushion the blow of COVID-19 on New Zealand businesses, both big and small. Our wage subsidy and leave schemes supported around 1.7 million workers through the COVID-19 lockdown, and our business support package, including the Small Business Cash Flow Loan, Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, tax changes, and insolvency relief, helped businesses respond to COVID-19. Our $3.1 billion tax loss carry-back scheme will allow a large number of businesses to access their previous tax payments as cash refunds.

And we made the largest investment in infrastructure in decades through the Big New Zealand Upgrade to prepare New Zealand for the future.

Before the COVID crisis

Going into COVID-19, our economy was strong. Our economy was growing, unemployment had fallen to its lowest levels in decades, and Government debt was down to around 19% of GDP. This debt level was much lower than most OECD countries, which positioned us well for an economic shock like COVID-19.

Since we came into Government, we’ve also:

  • Restarted contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund
  • Backed new start-ups with the Venture Capital Fund and Green Investment Fund
  • Invested in our regions through the Provincial Growth Fund
  • Entrenched the concept of wellbeing into future Government Budgets