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Budget 2020 Providing A New Social And Economic Order In New Zealand

The Salvation Army is looking to next week’s Budget for an economic package that will help shape the social and economic structure of New Zealand in a completely new way. Now is the time for genuinely impactful recovery and rebuilding.

Covid19 has created devastation in the New Zealand economic and social environment, and the nation must come together across all sectors to build a country which is more financially robust and inclusive than we have previously known. To do this will require Budget resources from the Government at a level not previously seen.

In its third Covid19 Social Impact Dashboard, The Army says the New Zealand emerging from Covid19, presents widespread challenges for New Zealand whānau not previously seen, and far beyond the capability of the present social welfare system. For Māori wellbeing, the situation is particularly concerning. New Zealand must have a new sustainable economy that includes all New Zealanders having greater wellbeing.

Over the next eighteen months, a refreshed New Zealand economy and social environment must be conceived. The 2020 Budget needs to make Government financing available for this task

The Salvation Army has identified five areas which will need investment in the new social and economic order:

There is a need for investment in a rigorous system of food security. In a country whose primary export is food, there is no excuse for any New Zealander to be short of food. Systems must be built that ensure every New Zealander has easy access to the food they require to keep healthy.

An income guarantee for everyone contributing in some way to our economic and social wellbeing must be at the centre of the new economy. People must still be allowed to get richer, but systems to ensure no one is in poverty must be robust and well developed.

That Covid19 will increase levels of debt is inevitable Debt, however, should provide hope for a step into the future and not crippling strangulation on future wellbeing. The Salvation Army calls for stronger and more strategic credit and debt regulation in line with the Covid19 protections for consumers implemented in the UK. The current approach is like throwing cups of water on a house fire. Additionally, Budget 2020 must have significant, long-term new investment in the Building Financial Capability sector to support budgeting services and financial mentors who will be on the frontline serving those in debt, unemployment and financial hardship.

The Salvation Army believes the Government needs to make the most significant allocation ever to housing in New Zealand’s history; a multi-billion dollar allocation. Advice on priorities for spending should come from an expert group representing the best brains in housing. Because of the opportunities post Covid-19 recovery presents, New Zealand can be the best-housed nation in the world.

With issues of mental health and addiction likely increasing in post Covid New Zealand, a significant multi-million dollar funding for alcohol and other drug services (AOD) is required. Funding targeted at the development of tele-health services, embedding mental health into addiction services so that addiction and mental health groups can adequately face the current and emerging alcohol and drug issues.

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