Securing New Zealand’s recovery and investing in the wellbeing of its people is the focus of Budget 2021, Grant Robertson told his audience at a pre-budget speech in Auckland this morning.
“The economy has proven resilient in response to COVID-19, due to people having confidence in the Government’s health response to keep them safe,” the Finance Minister said.
“Unemployment has continued to trend down, an extra 32,000 jobs have been created in the six months to March and business and consumer confidence is increasing as our vaccine rollout is ramping up and we are carefully opening up our borders.’
“We can’t take the recovery for granted. Further waves of COVID-19 around the world underline that we are still in a highly volatile and uncertain global environment. There are still sectors and regions in New Zealand struggling to deal with the impacts of the pandemic. We have also taken on considerable debt to support New Zealanders lives and livelihoods through COVID-19.
“In this environment a balanced approached is required. We need to continue to be careful with our management of the economy, while also providing stimulus to accelerate the recovery and to make investments where they are needed the most to tackle our long term challenges in priority areas such as climate change, child wellbeing and housing.
“Our better than expected economic recovery does provide us with more options. There is a bit more space in our operating and capital allowances to support the economy in line with our wellbeing approach while also providing further scope to keep a lid on our higher debt levels and then lower it once the recovery is secure.
“An investment-focused recovery that supports all New Zealanders is the way to ensure that our finances remain sustainable. It is also the way in which the Government will continue to tackle the long-standing issues that we were elected to address.
“It is important to recognise that it can’t all be done in one budget. I view this budget as one of a package of three this term to advance our priorities and return our books to a sustainable fiscal position,” Mr Robertson said.