Budget 2020: The nine 'key priorities' from today's COVID-19 'Rebuilding Together' announcement

The Finance Minister has unveiled his $50 billion 'Rebuilding Together' Budget - the Government's roadmap to getting New Zealand's economy back on track after the coronavirus crisis.

This year's document, released on Thursday afternoon, outlines what Grant Robertson has described as "the most significant financial commitment by a New Zealand Government in modern history".

It includes plans to extend the wage subsidy, provide free trades training, and boost infrastructure, among many other schemes.

Treasury forecasts that the fiscal stimulus could save up to 140,000 jobs over the next two years. It also suggests the economy could start growing again by July and unemployment return to 4.2 percent by 2022. 

And lots of the money is yet to be allocated. While $15 billion of the Budget has already been spent, there is still $20 billion to roll out when the Government works out where the areas of greatest need are.

You can read the full Budget here - but if you don't want to trawl through 94 pages of Government documents, the main bits are below.

The Government's 'key priorities' for Budget 2020

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF)

The Budget formally establishes a $50 billion CRRF.

This builds on the $12.1 billion package from March to progress further measures and address COVID-19 related spending. As at April 20, the Government had already committed $10.7 billion through the CRRF:

  • $6.9 billion to extend the Wage Subsidy Scheme beyond the initial funding announced on 17 March;
  • a Business Tax Relief Package of $1.9 billion;
  • $186 million across the education sector, to support distance learning and help students continue their studies during lockdown;
  • a number of other packages to support the short-term response of the health, aviation and social sectors.

Health ($5.6b operating total and $755m total capital)

To ensure the sector is able to respond to the pandemic while maintaining the sustainable delivery of existing services, Budget 2020 invests in areas that the Government "knows will make a difference to the wellbeing of New Zealanders".

Key initiatives in this area (which will also continue to receive further investment through the CRRF) include:

  • DHB Additional Support ($3.9 billion operating total). This represents the largest ever annual investment in DHBs.
  • Maintaining and Increasing the Combined Pharmaceutical Budget ($160 million operating total). This investment provides funding for more medicines through an increase to the DHB medicines budget managed by PHARMAC.
  • Supporting Disabled New Zealanders to Live Good Lives ($832.5 million operating total). This initiative provides security of funding for services to people with long-term physical, intellectual and/or sensory impairment.
  • Funding for Maternity Services ($177 million operating total). This investment addresses cost and volume pressures for primary community maternity services and sets aside funding to begin the implementation of the Maternity Action Plan.
  • Increased Capital Investment for DHBs ($750 million total capital). This will support the delivery of safe and appropriate healthcare by providing facilities, infrastructure and technology that can appropriately meet current and future demand.

Social Sector ($665.3m operating total and $87.2m total capital)

As New Zealand emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, our people and our communities will need assistance as the country returns to a normal way of life, the Government says.

Budget 2020 provides investment in both government and non-government social services to support New Zealanders’ employment, housing and broader life outcomes.

  • Family Violence Services ($183 million operating total). This package will deliver the largest funding boost for family violence service providers in over a decade so they can recruit and develop highly capable staff and respond to the demand they are facing.
  • Keeping Community-Based Services Open for Disabled People ($43.3 million operating total). This funding enables community-based service providers funded by the Ministry of Social Development to support disabled people to participate in, and contribute to, their wider community. 
  • Improving Access to Support Services for Communities in Regional New Zealand ($19.8 million operating total). This funding will provide increased accessibility for rural communities to both government and non-government services based on the Heartland Model.

Education ($813.6m operating total and $115.1m total capital)

The Budget package provides  universal support to students across all levels of education, and targets investment in areas the Government knows will benefit students who need it the most.

Key initiatives in this area include:

  • Funding for the Education Sector ($375.1 million operating total). Budget 2020 includes funding for Early Childhood Education (ECE) subsidies, Schools Operations Grants, Trades Academies and Tertiary Education subsidies.
  • Learning Support ($79.7 million operating total). This package includes funding to maintain learning support service delivery for a broad range of services, which face increasing price and demand pressures. 
  • School Property Investment ($119.5 million operating total and $115.4 million total capital). This package includes four initiatives that will help expand, maintain and enhance the quality of the School Property portfolio in Public, and Private Partnership schools. 
  • Early Learning Education Package ($291.6 million operating total).  Budget 2020 provides for a 3.5 per cent increase to qualified and certificated ECE teachers’ pay, ongoing funding for Kōhanga Reo to meet staffing cost pressures and additional support for home-based educators to transition to a minimum Level 4 ECE qualification.

Primary Industries ($443.7m operating total and $42.5m total capital)

Budget 2020 invests in initiatives that will ensure the primary industries are supported and sustainable. Funding will support our primary industries to continue their existing scope of operations, rebuild essential infrastructure and prevent or mitigate the impacts of biosecurity threats.

Key initiatives in this area include:

  • Continuation of the Mycoplasma Bovis Eradication Programme ($193.5 million operating total). This initiative provides funding to support operational activities, including surveillance, tracking, movement controls and culling infected animals and contributes to compensation costs for farmers.
  • Continuing the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Current Scope of Operations ($126.1 million operating total). This initiative provides funding to address price pressures to ensure that MPI is able to deliver its activities across agriculture, biosecurity, forestry, fisheries and food safety.
  • Rebuilding Forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Infrastructure to Meet Demand and Support the Transition to the Low Emissions Economy ($43.4 million operating total and $36.2 million total capital). This initiative provides funding to enable the implementation of new business processes for the Forestry ETS administration and implements the reforms set out in the Climate Change Response (ETR) Bill.

Justice Sector ($606.1m operating total and $169.7m total capital)

Budget 2020 invests in community safety through maintaining infrastructure for courts, technology, inflationary pressures and investment in organisational change. It also provides funding to enable continued access to justice services and for critical Crown entities.

Key initiatives in this area include:

  • Next Generation Critical Communications ($47.8 million operating total). This initiative will invest in replacing communications capabilities for Police, Fire and Ambulance to support healthier, safer and more connected communities.
  • Justice Property Health and Safety Remediation ($36.9 million operating total and $163.5 million total capital). The initiative will invest in upgrading court buildings around New Zealand to meet health and safety requirements and improve the experience of attending court, including for victims.
  • Maintaining a Safe Prison Network ($110.4 million operating total). This initiative provides funding to address operational cost and inflationary pressures and will fund training for Corrections staff working in prisons.

Defence and Foreign Affairs ($927.7m operating total and $942.5m total capital)

The Budget 2020 package includes $666.3 million operating total for the Defence portfolio to fund critical pressures facing the sector. This funding will support investment in areas like information and ICT and Defence estate infrastructure. It will also enhance military capability.

The package also includes $55.6 million for New Zealand to provide further Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Key initiatives in this area include:

  • Defence Capability Plan 2019 – Contingent Funding to Support the Introduction of New Capabilities ($897.6 total capital). This is contingent funding towards the replacement of the NZDF’s ageing C-130H Hercules fleet with newer C-130J Super Hercules aircraft (the preferred option at this stage).
  • Delivering on the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018 ($666.3 million operating total). This initiative provides funding to regenerate the ageing Defence estate and ICT.
  • Official Development Assistance ($55.6 million operating total). This initiative provides further Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. This assistance will be used to support human rights, gender equality and child and youth wellbeing in these countries.

Transport ($222.9m operating total and $1.1b total capital)

Budget 2020 builds on the $6.8 billion investment made through the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. This investment will enhance national rail and ferry networks and contribute to efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.

Key initiatives in this area include:

  • Investment to Enable Rail Activities to be Funded Under the Land Transport Management Act ($148.2 million operating total). This initiative provides Crown funding for the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) to support integration of below rail network investment into the National Land Transport Programme.
  • New Interisland Ferry Assets to Support a Resilient and Reliable Rail Freight System ($399.5 million total capital). This initiative provides funding to replace the ageing Interislander ferry assets to provide an enhanced transport link between the North and South Islands.
  • Rolling Stock Investment to Support a Resilient and Reliable Railway ($421.7 million total capital). This initiative provides funding for long-term investment to replace ageing locomotives and upgrade KiwiRail’s mechanical maintenance facilities. It also funds the European Train Control System (ETCS) for Auckland.

Arts and Culture ($246.8m operating total and $37.5m total capital)

Budget 2020 has put funding aside to preserve our nation's taonga (treasure), celebrate its diversity and history and promote creativity. The package provides support for the local film industry and culturally significant historical collections, as well as ensuring the accessibility of public media platforms to diverse audiences.

Key initiatives in this area include:

  • Saving the Crown’s Audio-visual Collections ($5.3 million operating total and $26.6 million total capital). This initiative preserves this content, which includes a diverse range of broadcast news, documentaries, films, music and oral histories and captures the issues and experiences of New Zealanders through the decades, unique cultural events and defining moments in our nation's history.
  • Sustaining Crucial Public Media Platforms ($25 million operating total). This initiative provides funding to support the work of public media platforms that deliver content to under-served audiences.
  • Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Cost Pressure ($6.0 million operating total). This initiative provides funding to adapt and open the Kate Sheppard House as a heritage and public education space.
  • Tāhuhu: New Archives New Zealand Facility and Design of National Library Alterations and New Regional Shared Repository ($46.6 million operating total and $146.0 million total capital). This initiative provides funding for the construction and ongoing costs for a new Archives New Zealand facility, work to link the facility to the National Library of New Zealand, land purchase and design for a new shared repository for heritage materials.

 

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