The centrepiece of Budget 2020, Rebuilding Together, is the establishment of a $50 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund which will target protecting existing jobs, creating new ones and provide support for workers to retrain and for business to survive as well as targeting support to those sectors most affected by the virus.
- $50 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to invest in the economy and jobs
- Economy forecast to grow in 2021
- Return to 4.2 percent unemployment by 2022
- Budget focus on jobs, infrastructure, training and environment
Below are the key budget initiatives that relate or have a connection to the kiwifruit industry. The budget can be found here
Nearly $500 million in initiatives that will support primary industries in their existing operations and preventing or mitigating the impacts of biosecurity threats and enabling implementation of climate change and ETS reforms.
Transforming the Primary Sector Workforce
Farmers, growers and producers will play a critical role in New Zealand’s economic recovery.The primary sector will need about 50,000 more people in a post-COVID-19 world.
$19.3m over four years for a range of initiatives to help thousands of recently unemployed New Zealanders access training and work opportunities in the primary sector. In the immediate term, this initiative aims to place at least 10,000 New Zealanders in primary sector jobs by rapidly retraining and absorbing workers displaced from other sectors like hospitality and aviation.
In the longer term, this initiative supports the growth of the primary industries by ensuring they are able to attract workers to meet current and future needs across the sector and at all levels. Part of the funding will go into working with industry on familiarisation courses that help new workers know what to expect from life on a farm, and to provide essential skills to help workers settle into primary sector roles and lives
- $433 million for new jobs in regional environmental projects (4000 jobs over four years)
- Contribute to improving the health of New Zealand’s waterways and support economic recovery in partnership with local government and farmers/growers.
- Will include restoring mini wetlands, stabilising riverbanks, removing sediment, and providing for fish passage
- Will also support the government’s objectives in its Action for Healthy Waterways Policy
- $315 million biosecurity, including weed and pest control.
- $154 million for new jobs enhancing biodiversity on public and private land
- Expanding the Environmental Protection Authority’s Chemical Reassessment Programme
- $20 million to increase the scale and reach of support to rural communities, including Māori communities. The funding will increase access to support, advice and mental wellbeing services to help communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
- $15 million boost to Fruit in Schools and digital sales platforms for food producers
- ~$3.2b targeted extension of the Wage Subsidy Scheme. It will be available for a further eight-week period for those who have suffered a 50% reduction in turnover over the 30 days prior to application compared to last year. It will follow on directly from the end of the first twelve-week scheme.
- $1.6b in a Trades and Apprentice Package to provides opportunities for people of all ages to receive trades training. This will include financial support for businesses to retain their apprentices, free apprenticeship and training in targeted critical industries and funding increased enrolments on tertiary education and training. There is a specific $50 million fund for Maori Apprentice and Trades Training. A further $121 million will be injected into He Poutama Rangatahi to provide community-based training for at risk young people.
- Increasing support to research and development. Launching short-term temporary loan scheme to incentivise businesses to continue R&D programmes that may be at risk due to COVID-19. The loans will provide one-off finance and will be administered by Callaghan innovation.
- Provide over $200 million boast the NZ Trade and Enterprise to expand the scope and intensity of support provided to firms, including increasing activity for NZ firms in priority markets and expanding the digital services available for firms.
- An additional $3 billion contingency for additional infrastructure investment (on top of the earlier $12 billion NZ Upgrade Programme announced in January). This will include projects that are identified through the Infrastructure Reference Group.
~ $1b to improve transport across the country, including ~ $400m capital investment to replace the interislander ferries.
Covid-19 Recovery Package totally ~ $485m and includes a range of initiatives to provide timely and flexible support.
~ $200m will be spent on Pacific communities who have been affected by Covid-19, including a major focus o programmes to lift skills and support employment.