Date posted: 8/05/2020 2 min read

"Ambitious, but realistic tone" set for NZ Budget 2020

In a major pre-Budget speech Finance Minister Grant Robertson sets out the Government’s broad Budget objectives.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand has welcomed the "ambitious but realistic tone" set by Finance Minister Grant Robertson in a pre-Budget speech today.

"As the Minister made clear New Zealand is facing a 1 in 100 year event which will continue to hit the country hard for some time," said Peter Vial FCA, New Zealand Country Head of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

"He has indicated the Government will not waste this crisis, setting out an aspiration to create a fairer and more sustainable New Zealand."

"We look forward to seeing how next week's Budget makes progress towards a truly shared prosperity and much improved productivity."

"Breaking down the digital divide and supporting business growth in the digital age need to play a significant part in the economic recovery. Digital solutions have become essential in a COVID-19 world as businesses and individuals find themselves doing business remotely."

Vial welcomed both the Government's commitment to continue working alongside businesses who will lead the economic recovery and the move towards more targeted stimulus packages for businesses.

"Sooner rather than later we have to move to a tighter and more evidence-based model, targeted carefully at areas of the economy which remain viable, but vulnerable. The results of targeted programmes must be measurable and the desired policy outcomes need to be sustainable and capable of being independently verified."

He welcomed the Minister's commitment to working closely with affected sectors to help achieve the Government's ambitions.

"The Government and the nation's public sector deserve praise for the way they have handled the first stage of the pandemic response, but a full economic recovery will continue to need a strong partnership with the private sector."

Key points of speech

  • The Budget will be delivered in the "shadow of 1-in-100 year shock".
  • It will set the direction for the next stages of responding and rebuilding.
  • The Budget will continue to be guided by the wellbeing approach, balancing the needs of the economy, people, the environment and communities.
  • The importance of investing in and maintaining effective core government services highlighted.
  • There will be no economic growth in the "near term".
  • "The numbers we will see in the Budget next week are sobering."
  • NZ's strong fiscal position means it is in a "much better place to cushion the blow" than most other countries NZ compares itself to.
  • The Government has spent over $20 billion in support to help businesses and households weather the initial shock.
  • Future support will become more targeted, as some industries and firms are able to survive and recover.
  • Significant long-term issues identified including skills, the digital divide, infrastructure and housing.
  • Priorities announced in the Budget Policy Statement have been re-assessed and unless they meet a core cost pressure, they have been put on ice.

Responding, Recovering and Rebuilding

Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s pre-Budget speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce on Thursday 7 May 2020.

Read the speech

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