News that we are heading to Alert Level 2 this Thursday is welcome for many who have been adversely financially impacted by the lockdown.
We have made fantastic progress as a nation on this health crisis, and for that this government and the Prime Minister should be congratulated. We have flattened the curve of daily Covid-19 cases and this has no doubt saved many lives as a result.
Now that we have contained this health crisis, our efforts must now turn to the future, to stay on top of any additional cases that arise, and deal to the impending economic crisis.
To effectively stay on top of Covid-19 requires excellence in testing and contact tracing. Concerns remain with the Ministry of Health’s capabilities in these areas, so National continues to hold the government to account over these matters.
On the economic side, last week National laid out our plan to get New Zealand’s economy moving again. We have always been ambitious for New Zealand and see the immediate economic recovery as an opportunity to position our nation well in a post-COVID-19 world, with higher incomes and better opportunities for our kids and grandchildren.
Our plan involves getting as quickly out of lockdown as possible, delivering an effective economic stimulus package and boosting productivity. Our economic recovery must be private sector-led, not led by the bureaucrats in Wellington.
With September’s election drawing ever closer, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me and from National on how we will move our economy and this great nation forward.
Life at Level 2
On Monday the government announced that from Thursday we will move into Level 2. This is good news as in this level, businesses can re-open and we can travel around New Zealand for work or pleasure. Tertiary education facilities, schools and early learning centres will be open as of next Monday 18 May.
A word of caution about life at Level 2; there’s still significant restrictions on our lives when it comes to public gatherings, social distancing and sport & recreational activities. My advice is to read the rules on Level 2 once over to ensure you adhere to public health guidelines at this time, click HERE.
What to Expect From This Week's Budget
This week Finance Minister Grant Robertson outlines the government’s budget for the coming year, along with estimates for our economic performance in the coming years.
Predicting the economic impact of this crisis is extremely difficult, however this is what Treasury officials attempted last month with a range of scenario planning forecasts.
Key takeaways: under all of Treasury’s scenarios, the economic impact is forecast to be worse than the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The economy will contract through to the end of 2021 and unemployment will at least double from pre-Covid levels. Of course the effects will be most pronounced on our tourism, aviation, and hospitality sectors.
Against this backdrop, this year’s budget will be like no other in our history as the government seeks to cushion the blow from Covid on our economy.
The first thing to watch for will be what happens to the wage subsidy, which is expected to dry up next month. On top of this, they will need to provide further cash flow support for thousands of struggling businesses and provide retraining support for those who have lost jobs that won’t be coming back. Watch out for targeted directed payments to households and massive infrastructure spending.
In short, expect a big spend up in this year’s budget with an additional $15 billion in economic stimulus, according to Westpac forecasts. And with well over $22 billion already paid out in economic stimulus to date, the key question will be who’s going to pay for this?
Without tax increases this leaves borrowing as the only answer, which is the final thing to watch out for this week. With New Zealand’s public debt to GDP ratio expected to at least double in the next couple of years, it’s clear that future Kiwis will be the ones paying for this government’s budget.
I am, like many of my National colleagues, very concerned about the burden this debt will place on future generations of Kiwis. This government needs to have a strong plan around rebuilding our economy and getting the government books back into good shape. Sadly those are the things I don’t expect to see in this week’s budget!
Support Local Campaign
Level 2 gives us a great opportunity to support our community at this tough time. We can do this by shopping locally. I’ve launched a #ShopLocal campaign that aims to create awareness around the positive impact we can make locally if we choose to #ShopLocal.
It’s a tough time for many in our area, so it’s more important now than ever before that we back one another. Simple things such as ordering food from our favourite eateries and shopping at local outlets makes a huge difference to our community.
Local community organisations like De Paul House and the Salvation Army are also under huge pressure at this time. Your food, clothes and financial donations to these organisations go a long way to serving those most in need at this time. Thanks for giving generously to our community!
Local Transport Update
Prior to Covid-19, transport and congestion were the biggest challenges facing our community. As we go back to work and send our kids back to school, I expect these issues will come to the fore once again.
Next month I’ll give a more thorough update for you on the most important transport projects in our community. This includes the NZTA Northern Path project, an AT permanent clearway trial on Onewa Rd, the Northcote Pt Ferry Terminal rebuild, and a few other local transport initiatives.
We need your help - volunteer now!
With an election just around the corner, I’d love your help to campaign for the National Party vote and to help my re-election campaign as your local MP.
Do you believe in limited government, private enterprise and personal responsibility? Do you believe in equal opportunity for all New Zealanders? If you do, then please join our fight this election year and volunteer for the Northcote National Party!
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