Supporting small businesses and big construction projects will be critical in the Bay of Plenty's post-pandemic recovery plan, leaders say.
Budget 2020 will be delivered on Thursday and many sectors stand to benefit from extra support in light of the economic damage done by Covid-19.
Bay of Plenty leaders want to see a focus on initiatives and projects that will keep businesses afloat, create jobs, and support the fastest-growing city in the country.
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell said ensuring overhead costs matched cash flows of small businesses and helping small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become more digitally enabled was crucial to the economic rebuild of the city.
"Covid-19 has wrought significant damage on world economies and New Zealand's lockdown has left our business sector in a parlous state," Powell said.
The impact on SMEs was of particular concern, he said, as they employed around a third of the workforce and contributed a similar proportion to the national economy.
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Research by 21 APEC nations found businesses that are digitally-enabled out-performed non-digital counterparts by an order of magnitude, he said.
He said SMEs would need continued Government assistance to help them survive and keep hundreds of thousands of Kiwis in work.
Tauranga City Council has also put forward a list of 24 shovel-ready infrastructure projects worth around $1.1 billion for Government consideration as part of an economic stimulus package led by the Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
"We do not expect confirmation of funding as part of Budget 2020, but it would be particularly helpful if the total quantum of stimulus project funding could be confirmed, together with a strong indication about the ground rules which will apply."
Powell said the proposed projects focus squarely on addressing the needs of the country's fastest-growing city, and on providing an immediate boost to employment and our construction industry.
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Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber said approval of the Rangiuru Business Park public infrastructure and the Katikati Bypass - which has faced decades of delays - would create much-needed jobs for locals as well as improve the liveability of the region.
Applications for these works had been put into the CIP.
"The Rangiuru Business Park will open up the eastern end of the Western Bay of Plenty for industrial development."
The estimated $100 million project has faced decades of delays and Webber said it would make Katikati a "far more liveable place".
"The fundamental base of the application was these jobs would create work, particularly for local people."
Webber said from a national perspective, it was important money went towards building hospitals, schools and roads, which would be able to overcome long-term shortages.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council chairman Doug Leeder said there were many initiatives under way to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 and he hoped the Budget would complement those.
Additional to that immediate assistance, Leeder said support for infrastructure work, such as roading, would get people back into work.
"Then areas like the airport. Any discussion that can be had around the effects Covid-19 has had, and assistance or motivation to encouraging domestic tourism, would have many benefits.
"The Crown needs to play its part and get on with it. Covid-19 was a real kick in the tail but it's time to get moving and start trading our way out of all the borrowing we've had to do."
Leeder added that from a regional council point of view, work on the freshwater front would be welcomed.
"Pre-Covid there was a desire from Government to see improvements in freshwater [quality] and if Covid hadn't come along, something would have already been done. There's a real appetite by farmers and the like to do better in our water management so Government support in that area would be good."