Budget 2021: The context
While the wellbeing objectives should not change year to year, how we think about them will. For this Budget, while progressing our wellbeing objectives, we must continue to deal with the impact COVID-19 has had on Aotearoa New Zealand.
It also comes at a time when we have been making significant investment into supporting our people and our businesses to adapt to a new normal and stimulating the economy to keep Aotearoa New Zealand prospering. The biggest infrastructure programme in Aotearoa New Zealand's recent history started last term is ongoing.
At the same time, we still need to support our public sector to deliver essential services, for example, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of having a health system that can deliver world-class health services to all New Zealanders and has the capacity to respond to a major health crisis. Our education system is a key enabler of future wellbeing for our youth and it requires ongoing investment.
The Wellbeing Budget: Securing Our Recovery comes at a time when the Government is focused on supporting Aotearoa New Zealand in the response to the uncertainty of COVID-19, accelerating the recovery and the rebuild, and laying the foundations for the future. This means keeping New Zealanders safe while addressing key issues such as climate change, housing affordability, and child poverty.
Taking all these factors into account there are three overarching policy goals for the Government this term:
- Continuing to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19
- Accelerating the recovery and rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19
- Laying the foundations for the future, including addressing key issues, such as climate change, housing affordability, and child poverty.
In Budget 2021 we are taking a balanced approach to public finances in the current context of ongoing global uncertainty. This means continuing to support the economic recovery through fiscal stimulus, and then looking to reduce our levels of public debt once economic conditions permit.
At the same time, we need to invest to support our communities where the need is greatest, so that everyone benefits as we recover from COVID-19 and rebuild. For this Government it is not enough to build back to where Aotearoa New Zealand was before, we want to build back better.
In Budget 2021 we are also balancing meeting our immediate needs, while investing to tackle long-term challenges to improve New Zealanders' wellbeing.