Government puts hold on Covid fund

Government hs put a hold on the Covid fund, saying “it is not there to be used for any old project in the never-never. It is to provide support and stimulus to recover and rebuild from COVID-19”.

Sounds like this has some connection to the election and policy announcements.

Govt sets aside remaining $14bn in COVID Fund

The remainder of the COVID Response and Recovery Fund is being set aside to make sure New Zealand is in a strong position to fight whatever COVID-19 throws at the economy, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

“When we set up the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, the Government was clear that it was to be used for our response to keep New Zealanders safe and for immediate support to help the economic recovery.

“We are sticking to our word on this. We are investing money where it is needed to respond to COVID-19, and we are setting aside a significant sum of money to be used as needed in the future. This is the fiscally and socially responsible thing to do.

“As we look around the world, it is clear that this global pandemic is continuing to grow. In the face of this, and on-going uncertainty, now is the time to be cautious and keep our powder dry. Keeping debt under control, and supporting jobs and businesses are both important. We are committed to getting the balance right, to give New Zealand options,” Grant Robertson said.

At Budget 2020, there was $20.2 billion remaining in the Fund to be allocated. The Government has since announced a number of important investments from the Fund, including $570 million for the COVID Income Relief Payment, an extra $700 million for the wage subsidy extension, and more than $300 million to keep supporting our health response including the $150 million for extra PPE announced at the end of June. There was just over $17 billion in the Fund at the start of July.

“Cabinet has agreed that further support for ongoing health, border and economic response measures will require about $3.2 billion, with announcements to be made before the House rises. This amount includes the $760 million already announced for Three-Waters reform.

“This will leave $14 billion in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, which is now being set aside in the event, for example, New Zealand experiences a second wave.

“We are doing everything we can to keep COVID-19 at our border – nobody wants a second wave. The responsible course of action is to make sure we are prepared for the worst – to give confidence to New Zealanders that we will be able to continue to act swiftly and decisively in our ongoing fight against this virus.”

“The Fund is not there to be used for any old project in the never-never. It is to provide support and stimulus to recover and rebuild from COVID-19.”

Greens in particular have been suggesting a variety of uses for the Covid Fund (to fund their preferred policies). National have also used the Fund in costings for their infrastructure policy.

Not clear here is whether there will be a hold also put on the Provincial Growth Fund, which has been used to address Covid problems.

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1 Comment

  1. Duker

     /  21st July 2020

    Most of the $50 bill ‘set aside’ ( what does that even mean) hasnt been spent either.

    “The Government will spend up to $50b fighting the Coronavirus crash with a massive injection of funding for jobs, training, and infrastructure.
    But it doesn’t know how to spend all of the money it has set aside, only allocating $15.9b of the giant fund in Thursday’s Budget.”
    Extra money, some billions was also allocated and spent before the new financial year. Often money is allocated ‘over 4 years’, so isnt spent in a single year.
    You would have to look at a chart of spending …starting from beginning of the year ( which is last FY) and show it over the full 4 years


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