Wednesday, Aug 05, 2020 | Last Update : 07:46 PM IST

133rd Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra45795629935616142 Tamil Nadu2682852087844349 Andhra Pradesh176333956251604 Karnataka145830692722704 Delhi1391561252264033 Uttar Pradesh100310572711817 West Bengal80984568841785 Telangana6894649675563 Gujarat65704485612529 Bihar6203140760349 Assam4816233429115 Rajasthan4667932832732 Haryana3779631226448 Odisha3768124483258 Madhya Pradesh3508225414912 Kerala279561629988 Jammu and Kashmir2239614856417 Punjab1901512491462 Jharkhand140705199129 Chhatisgarh10109761369 Uttarakhand8008484795 Goa7075511460 Tripura5520367528 Puducherry4147253758 Manipur301818147 Himachal Pradesh2879171013 Nagaland24056594 Arunachal Pradesh179011053 Chandigarh120671520 Meghalaya9173305 Sikkim7832971 Mizoram5022820
  World   Oceania  14 May 2020  New Zealand plans spending spree to counter virus job losses

New Zealand plans spending spree to counter virus job losses

AP
Published : May 14, 2020, 11:00 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2020, 11:00 am IST

New Zealand finance minister unveils new budget on the same day the nation lifted most of its lockdown restrictions

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, right, walks with deputy prime minister Winston Peters to the house for the budget delivery speech at Parliament in Wellington. (AP)
 New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, right, walks with deputy prime minister Winston Peters to the house for the budget delivery speech at Parliament in Wellington. (AP)

Wellington: New Zealand’s government plans to borrow and spend vast amounts of money as it tries to keep unemployment below 10% in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance minister Grant Robertson on Thursday unveiled a budget unlike any in the nation’s history. Debt would shoot up from just over 20% of GDP to 54% by 2023, and thousands of jobs created by putting people to work building homes and improving the environment.

 

Still, the increased spending will not be enough to offset the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Unemployment is expected to rise from just over 4% to nearly 10% by June.

Robertson acknowledged that tourism, which had accounted for about 10% of the economy, was not going to be the same for many years to come.

“We face a global economic and health crisis not seen since the Great Depression,” Robertson said.

The budget was released on the same day the nation lifted most of its lockdown restrictions. Malls, retail stores and restaurants all reopened, and many people returned to their workplaces. That reflected the country’s success to date in its attempts to eliminate the virus. Health authorities on Thursday reported zero new infections for the third day in a row. New Zealand has reported a total of about 1,500 confirmed infections and 21 deaths.

 

Under the budget plan, the government will spend 50 billion New Zealand dollars ($30 billion) over four years to help boost the economy.

The government had entered the crisis running a surplus and with its books in good shape compared to many other countries. Robertson said the crisis called for increased spending rather than cutting back.

“I’m not a fan of austerity,” he said.

More than half of all workers in New Zealand are currently being subsidized by the government under a program that was quickly set up as the nation went into a strict lockdown in March. The budget would extend the scheme for hard-hit businesses.

The plan also calls for 11,000 environmental jobs to be created, some of them temporary. People would be put to work killing pests and restoring wetlands. And up to 8,000 new homes would be built, creating thousands of construction jobs. Spending would also be increased on everything from health care and education to school lunches and the postal service.

 

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said the plan lacked detail and accountability and would add the equivalent of a second mortgage of debt per household.

“It’s our children and grandchildren who will be paying for it,” Bridges said.

Lawmakers started discussions Thursday afternoon and were expected to approve the budget.

Tags: new zealand updat, new budget, economy, unemployment, coronavirus, covid-19, lockdown
Location: New Zealand, Wellington, Wellington