Like many people, I enjoyed New Zealand’s first Matariki public holiday with family and friends,celebrating the Māori New Year and reflecting on the year that’s been.
It’s been a busy year, and I’m proud of the progress our Government has continued to make on the long-standing issues facing New Zealand – from housing, to climate change, inequality, and more. We’ve also stepped up to meet new challenges head-on, and, as a result, the fundamentals of our economy are strong.
We have a record low unemployment rate, economic activity that is higher than it was before COVID, and debt lower than most countries we compare ourselves to. Food and fibre export revenue is expected reach a record $52.2 billion in the year to 30 June 2022, and international tourists are again enjoying our great community, boosting our region’s economy.
But we know that, despite these positive indicators, many families are finding things tough right now. To help with this, we’ve delivered a cost of living package to further ease the pressure on New Zealanders in the face of global inflation.
This package includes a new temporary cost of living payment, which will benefit more than two million people earning up to $70,000, including many here in Auckland. Alongside this payment, we’re tackling transport costs by extending our fuel tax cut, reduced road user charges, and half price public transport for a further two months, and making half price public transport permanent for community service card holders. We’re also taking action on supermarkets to make sure Kiwis are paying a fair price at the checkout.
All of these measures build on the steps we’ve already taken to reduce cost pressures on New Zealanders, such as our Winter Energy Payment, cheaper doctor’s visits, and our 1 April changes which included a boost to Superannuation.
The strength of our economy means that not only are we able to provide further support for people, we’re also able to keep a lid on debt, and continue investing to secure our future. We’re making sure New Zealanders can access world class healthcare, growing a skilled workforce, accelerating our transition to a low emissions economy, and more.
Together, we’ve navigated COVID and the challenges of the past few years better than almost any other country in the world. We did that by pulling together and having a plan that puts people first. As we take the next steps, we’re striking a careful balance, supporting people through this tough period while ensuring we’re ready for whatever lies ahead.
MP Naisi Chen