Budget 2020 will help region's recovery, but still some unknowns.

Budget 2020 will help the region take some important steps towards economic recovery from COVID-19, but leaves a number of balls in the air, says Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Justine Gilliland. 

“In addition to the measures already announced in our nation’s fight against COVID-19, Budget 2020 offers a tactical response to a continually evolving economic challenge.”
 
“We were hoping for greater clarity around the forward process for the shovel-ready projects that could have a big impact for Taranaki’s enterprises and economy. We are pleased to see however no hints of not proceeding with existing projects such as SH43, the Taranaki Crossing, and the hospital redevelopment.”
 
“The Budget allocates $3 billion to support the 1924 shovel-ready projects submitted, totaling $136 billion. This overdemand indicates just how strong the need for investment in our nation’s infrastructure is, and $3b is just a start.”
 
“While more than 91% of the region’s workforce are able to work under Alert Level 2, there are still many local enterprises who are unable to operate at pre-Covid levels. The extension of the wage subsidy scheme will help these enterprises retain staff through the coming months, and protect jobs, incomes and livelihoods.”
 
“Funding for enterprises to continue R&D is positive, but it is disappointing not to see support for enterprises and regions in terms of supporting start-ups and SMEs to face challenges, grab opportunities, strategize, and pivot as needed, resulting in greater employment," Justine says.
 
“The $400 million support package for the tourism sector appears targeted to the regions with substantial international visitor volumes, but investment into domestic marketing and a strategic pivot for the industry has the potential to benefit the region, as a largely domestic destination already. At this point it is less than the industry was hoping for, but in conjunction with extensions to the wage subsidy scheme should offer some medium-term relief for the local industry.”
 
“The investment into rail and ferry transport links have potential to help Taranaki’s produce and products reach markets beyond the region, and opening domestic tourism to new markets from the South Island.”
 
“Overall, Budget 2020 gives our region a reasonable foundation on which to tackle the impacts of COVID-19, but makes it clear that Taranaki will ultimately define our own destiny. It is up to us to reimagine our region’s future, support our people and our enterprises, and drive the projects that will deliver lasting value, with support from the Government.”