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NZ’s Strong Economic Position Recognised

The Government’s strong economic position to support businesses and jobs through COVID-19 and invest for the recovery has been recognised in another major international report.

Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P), today reaffirmed New Zealand’s AA+ local currency credit rating, and maintained its positive outlook. This follows Moody’s reaffirming its Aaa rating last week, highlighting New Zealand’s strong economic fundamentals and low Government debt compared to the rest of the world.

“The success of our health response and the gains made by all New Zealanders fighting this virus is giving us a head-start on other countries to get our economy moving again,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

“We went early and hard in our economic response to match our public health efforts by getting money out the door to support businesses and protect jobs and incomes.”

S&P’s report says the Government’s investments are cushioning the blow of COVID-19 on the economy. It notes how the global recession, as well as reduced economic activity here due to COVID-19, will see fiscal deficits and an increase in Government debt as we invest to support the economy.

“We’ve already said that there will be a period of higher debt and fiscal deficits. The S&P and Moody’s reports are an acknowledgement that we are in a strong position to handle this, particularly when compared to the rest of the world,” Grant Robertson said.

On Friday, the Government announced a significant component of our business support package, the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This will provide Government loans of up to $100,000 for businesses with 50 or fewer employees to boost cashflow and help cover operating costs like rent. The loans are interest-free if repaid within a year.

This comes on top of support already announced, including the wage subsidy, the biggest business tax support package in modern New Zealand history, and measures to boost incomes like last week’s doubling of the Winter Energy Payment.

“Today’s news is a further reminder of why it is so important that we don’t lose the gains New Zealanders have made fighting this virus together. By locking in these gains we’re putting our economy in the best position to get moving again,” Grant Robertson said.

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