NZ Government's Economic package to fight COVID-19   17 Mar 2020

RT HON JACINDA ARDERN

The Coalition Government has launched the most significant peace-time economic plan in modern New Zealand history to cushion the impact of COVID-19 in the fight to support Kiwis’ jobs and the domestic economy from the virus.

The $12.1 billion package is worth 4% of GDP, a larger plan than that implemented in response to the Global Financial Crisis and comparatively larger than relief packages announced to date in Australia, the UK and the US.

“The Government is pulling out all the stops to protect the health of New Zealanders and the health of our economy,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“The best protection for our economy is getting the virus under control, which is why we are investing half a billion dollars in frontline health services to fight COVID-19.

“We will be investing in more health staff, more virus testing, more medicines, facemasks, extra intensive care capacity and equipment at hospitals, and more money for GPs. If we can manage the virus we can mitigate the damage to the economy.

“Today’s announcement is the first tranche of our response. Our immediate goal is to support people and businesses as we weather the impact of COVID-19. We must then ready the economy to recover.

“We’ve gone hard with our health response, and now we’re going hard with our financial assistance.

“The Coalition is united in doing everything we can to support New Zealand workers and businesses,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The coming months will test the nation. We do not underestimate the challenge ahead, but this Government is determined to do all it can to protect New Zealanders, and to cushion the economic impact that COVID-19 is having on our country,” Winston Peters said.

“This package is about protecting New Zealander’s health, protecting the vulnerable, protecting livelihoods, and ensuring the quickest recovery possible on all fronts.

“Aspects of the package like increasing the Winter Energy Payment will be massively beneficial for those most susceptible – our seniors. Other aspects like the wage subsidies, redeployment funding and building depreciation are designed to minimise the impact on our workers and businesses who are most at risk.

“New Zealanders have proven their resilience time and time again. This will be no different,” Mr Peters said.

“This is comprehensive plan for managing the impacts of COVID-19 that will help New Zealanders and their families to stay healthy and focused on their wellbeing,” James Shaw said.

“The additional support we have announced for our health system will help slow the spread of the virus to keep the number infected at any one time at a manageable level. But we know that if the virus does spread, it will be those on a low income who will be the worst affected.

“Increasing benefits, changes to in-work support, and an extension to the Winter Energy Payment will ensure those who need it have a bit of extra support to pay the bills, stay well and keep warm through the winter.

“We are also supporting business to keep people in work, so that no matter what happens, as many New Zealanders as possible can continue to provide for their families and contribute to their local communities,” James Shaw said.

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