Budget 2020 paints a bleak picture-Simeon Brown

Nothing in recent history has brought about such global disruption as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kiwis have sacrificed much through the restrictions of the lockdown but our efforts have worked well so far and now it’s time to start thinking about what comes next.

This year’s Budget reveals some of the bleakest figures New Zealand has seen in decades.

Debt will balloon to $200 billion, around $80,000 more per household, while unemployment is set to skyrocket by as many as 160,000 people, to 9.8 per cent this September as 1000 people each week join the unemployment benefit.

Real GDP is projected to drop by 4.6 per cent this year – these are truly sobering figures.

Despite this, we should be confident that New Zealand will bounce back. Kiwis will make new plans and find new opportunities.

The main question is how do we avoid making the economic disaster worse than it needs to be and how can we get back on track?

National would reduce the damage by opening up more of the economy as quickly as we safely can.

Even now in Level 2 we should be doing everything we can to open up the Trans-Tasman bubble and getting international students through quarantine to sustain our international education industry.

The Budget includes a large number of big-spending items but very little detail or accountability for what it was to be spent on.

To reduce job losses, we need to get some cash into the hands of struggling small businesses, to help with costs such as commercial rent.

Incredibly, given the scale of spending in the Budget, we saw nothing beyond the welcome extension of the wage subsidy to businesses which are suffering the most.

National would support struggling businesses by allowing them to claim a portion of last year’s GST back to support them with cash flow through these tough times.

Thankfully, we appear to have got through the worst of the health crisis – and with good testing and tracing we should stay there.

What’s needed now is a strong team to get New Zealand’s economy moving again, and National has the plan to get it done.

 

Simeon Brown

MP for Pakuranga