The government has announced the Well-being Budget 2021, focusing on ‘securing our recovery’ with heavy investment in health, welfare, and infrastructure but for most business owners there were no substantial new initiatives to help continue their recovery in a COVID-19 world.
Budget 2021 brings an increase to the weekly main benefit of between $32 and $55 per adult by 1 April 2022, to bring these in line with a key recommendation of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group. Alongside this, the government will provide an additional boost of $25 per week to students and $15 per adult per week to families with children.
Infrastructure spending of $57.3 billion has been allocated including $810 million for KiwiRail to invest in new trains and wagons and complete upgrades to mechanical facilities and $10 billion for roads and public transport projects. In addition, $300 million has been allocated to support the redevelopment of Scott Base.
District health boards will receive $2.7 billion over 4 years to continue to address cost and volume pressures and $700 million for other capital projects. Alongside this, Pharmac have been allocated an extra $200 million over 4 years.
Budget 2021 brings a $3.8 billion investment to the Housing Acceleration Fund, which will provide a mix of public, affordable and market housing, with $380 ring-fenced for Māori housing programmes.
Sustainability and climate change
The government have allocated $17.29 million to the External Reporting Board (XRB) to support its now expanded mandate to introduce standards and guidance for climate reporting. New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd has been recapitalised with $300 million for continued investment in support of climate change mitigation, with a focus on decarbonising public transport, plastics, and waste.
$200 million has been allocated to help drive recovery in the tourism sector and will be used to provide support for communities that are reliant on tourism. $15 million has also been allocated to support Māori tourism operators.
Other recent announcements
The Holidays Increasing Sick Leave amendment bill passed it third and final reading on 19 May, increasing the minimum amount of employer funded sick leave from 5 to 10 days. This legislation takes effect 2 months from the assent date and for existing employees the 10 day entitlement commences when the employee next becomes entitled to sick leave for a 12 month period.
Please contact us should you wish to discuss any of the above in more detail.