Budget 2020: Why helicopter payments aren't in the $50 billion funding

The Government's whopping $50 billion 2020 Budget has something missing that many Kiwis had pinned their hopes on - lump payments to all New Zealanders to stimulate the economy.

The idea of payments, known as helicopter payments, was touted by economists as a way of feeding cash back into the floundering COVID-19 economy.

More than 60 percent of Kiwis said they wanted them, and thought it would help New Zealand's ailing economy.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern both said in the lead up to the Budget the Government hadn't ruled it out - but when the Budget was released on Thursday, there was no mention of them.

Robertson told Newshub the lack of helicopter payments is due to the big spending elsewhere.

"We believe the extension to the wage subsidy scheme which is worth up to $3.2 billion will stimulate the economy and keep jobs." 

Robertson added the Government is also funding a number of other initiatives to keep Kiwis in work such as ensuring all New Zealanders can learn a trade for free, and giving additional funding so businesses can keep their apprentices. 

However he did hint at potential further developments - the Budget is $50 billion but so far only $15 billion has been allocated - the rest is being earmarked for future developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Robertson implied more cash would be freed up in future if it becomes necessary.

"We continue to work on the options that are there for income support and we will have more on that in the future I'm sure."

 

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