New Zealand

New Zealand now focuses on Covid’s recovery from the “health budget” | New Zealand

After successfully weathering Covid-19 without public health and financial catastrophes, New Zealand’s Finance Minister has capped expectations for radical public spending on the country’s next budget.

Treasury Minister Grant Robertson gave a glimpse of New Zealand’s vision for the post-covid economy in his first major pre-budget speech on Tuesday morning.

“With Covid in the background, Budget 2021 will take a balanced approach and continue to emphasize investment in where it is most needed, along with careful financial management,” Robertson said in a speech to the Commerce Commission. It was.

The actual finances will not be announced until May 20th. However, Robertson’s carefully expressed speech will weaken the hope of a radical offer later in the month. Robertson branded the reconstruction budget in 2021 and outlined three key goals for the government’s term. Change and child happiness. “

When the Ardern-led Labor government came to power One of its most internationally celebrated announcements was the first “welfare budget.” In addition to the budget itself, the government has announced a restructuring of its approach to future spending. Rather than using pure economic indicators such as GDP, the government and the Treasury assess human health, security, prosperity and policy success.Includes new vision A complete dashboard known as the “Standard of Living Framework””, Track the performance of the country. In his 2019 speech, Robertson said: “This budget not only measures our success in different ways, but also incorporates happiness at every stage of this budget’s creation, from prioritization to analysis of proposals and the creation of inevitable trade-offs that come. I have the privilege of being in government. “

This approach won New Zealand’s international headlines at the time. It also raised expectations for the flip side of policy and spending priorities by adopting a different set of measures. GDP.

But GDP, unemployment and net government debt were at the forefront of Robertson’s 2021 budget speech. Some commentators did not mention a standard of living framework that they wanted to change the country’s approach to budgeting over the next few years. Instead, the minister emphasized the Labor government’s commitment to careful fiscal management and debt reduction. “From a financial perspective, the 2021 budget will continue with a cautious and balanced approach,” he said. The well-being framework may still be embedded “at every stage” of the budget’s creation, but in Robertson’s presentation it was barely visible.

“It’s completely impossible to fulfill all the promises and promises we have made, or to meet all the long-term challenges with a single budget,” says Robertson.

A copy of the 2019 Welfare Budget. Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

His overview walked the narrow line between prudent spending and austerity. The shift to austerity means that it will take time to rebuild society in pursuit of numerical goals that ignore the real world in which we live. It’s all about balancing. correct”.

The government is already spending less than expected on Covid’s bailout and response, which is $ 926 million less for the government as a whole. Robertson said these savings could now be poured into the country’s Covid recovery.

From the perspective of spending on social issues, Robertson outlined three major priorities: affordability for housing, child well-being and climate change. The minister made little to say how spending on these priorities would be met, Independent climate committee.

“Almost every sector of our economy is affected by the carbon balance outlined by the Climate Commission,” Robertson said.

“I would like to say more about the approach we set to achieve the goals during the budget period, but not only to take steps to reduce emissions, but also to generate high income. We will continue to look for possibilities and opportunities that exist, and sustainable work. “

To achieve that goal, the government will set up a new “implementation unit” based at the Prime Minister’s Office, led by Robertson. The unit monitors whether the government sector is actually implementing the program and is spending properly. The unit will make Robertson an “informal government delivery minister.” Senior political reporter on staff Based on a similar unit that I wrote and developed by Tony Blair. It happens after several well-known government projects, including the “Kiwi Build” initiative to build light rail and more affordable homes, struggled to make progress.

“Now that governments play a much bigger role in supporting the economy and investing in the future, it’s important to ensure that we get the value of our money,” Robertson said. ..

The closure of the border by Covid-19 also urged the government to consider revising the tourism sector. Stuart Nash, Minister of Tourism, in late 2020 The country said it needed to reshape its tourism servicesTo accommodate a small number of “high value” visitors, spending more and reducing pressure on infrastructure. “Now is the time to reset the industry,” says Robertson. “Many precovids inside and outside the industry were concerned that the increase in tourist numbers would not be sustainable from an economic or environmental point of view.”

New Zealand now focuses on Covid’s recovery from the “health budget” | New Zealand

Source link New Zealand now focuses on Covid’s recovery from the “health budget” | New Zealand

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