The economic package released today by Labour, the Greens and NZ First puts money in the pockets of beneficiaries faster than it does most businesses, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“While we support the significant wage subsidy package, it is not immediate enough. Businesses and workers need relief now. Only about half of the total spending will actually go out the door in the next few months. The remainder will be spent slowly over the next four years.
“I am also concerned about how businesses with more than 21 full time staff will cope, with wage subsidy payments capped at $150,000.
“This package should be about keeping people in work. Instead, it will put money in the hands of beneficiaries faster than businesses who are doing it tough.
“National would have devoted more of the $12 billion package to urgent support for businesses in the next two to three months, to save jobs.
“We also support the investment in increasing the Government’s health response however we would question why funds for ensuring New Zealand has sufficient medicines and facemasks aren’t being spent right now.
“Business depreciation changes are welcome but they do not go far enough, soon enough. The focus should be on accelerating business investment in the short-to-medium term and a much more significant instant asset write-off scheme.
“It is disappointing there is no announcement on deferring the minimum wage increase. We continue to urge the Government to put off the increase for at least six months.
“There is also no sign the Government is bringing forward major infrastructure projects. Only 12 per cent of the Government’s $12 billion infrastructure package will actually be spent before the end of the 2021 financial year. That’s not fast enough.
“The Government should have also done the work on assuring banks have the confidence to continue lending to small-to-medium sized businesses, such as through a guarantee scheme implemented in the United Kingdom.
“We are heading into a deep recession, the Government needs to rise to the occasion. We acknowledge this plan and the support it will provide to some but New Zealanders will left asking for more.
“National would focus on keeping people in jobs, keeping businesses afloat and restoring business confidence.”