If any columnist had suggested six months ago this Government would spend $50 billion in a pre-election Budget, the editor would have most likely dropped the column and the columnist.
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The single biggest spending package in New Zealand's history, outlined in Finance Minister Grant Robertson's "rebuilding Budget on Thursday, has been devised to save as many jobs as possible. Latest forecasts from Treasury predict unemployment to remain in single digits.
Job creation, training and retraining schemes are essential to raise New Zealanders out of the lockdown an can be our lasting legacy while thwarting the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Naturally, there is criticism from the Opposition, particularly around the debt this rescue will weigh on future generations. That is valid, but unavoidable. Concerns at a lack of detail do not hold so much water when Robertson has been clear the funds will be deployed over four years.
Lobbyists will be booking flights to Wellington, hoping to present a case for their sectors to have a spot under the helicopter lolly-scramble. In light of this, the toughest part of this Budget is yet to come: How much spend is enough right now to offset the worst of the ruinous impacts of the lockdown, and what can be kept in check for the as-yet unexpected?
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Because, if there's one thing this pandemic has reminded us, we don't know what's next.