Opinion: We’ve just released this year’s Budget, which sets out the next steps in our plan to build a secure future for New Zealand. In addition to the comprehensive cost of living package which will deliver for 2.1 million workers across the country, there are investments being made that clearly demonstrate that this Government values our rural communities.
Let’s start with the rural economy. We are investing $118.4 million for advisory services to support farmers, foresters, growers and whenua Māori owners to accelerate sustainable land use changes and lift productivity. We are also putting $40 million to help transformation in the forestry, wood processing, food and beverage and fisheries sectors. Further support in the form of $31.6 million to help maintain and lift animal welfare practices across Aotearoa New Zealand and $110 million to boost the biosecurity system and continue the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme. This budget delivers a real, practical food and fibre sector investment package of more than $1 billion.
In addition to the lift for food and fibre, regional tourism will also see investment. As someone who has spent time working in regional tourism, based in an i-SITE, I am thrilled to see that three core networks within the tourism sector are receiving new investment to gear up for the return of international tourists and business travellers, as the country fully reconnects to the world. More than $5 million will go to Regional Tourism New Zealand, which supports 31 regional tourism organisations, i-SITEs, and the famous tourism trade show, TRENZ.
It isn’t just the rural economy that is getting a boost. This budget also delivers a better quality of life for those of us who live rurally. Not only are we removing barriers to getting a driver licence, helping 64,000 Kiwis get on the road and into work, but also improving and expanding our air ambulance fleet with an additional $90.7 million. When you live in rural New Zealand and urgently need help from the health system you become acutely aware of how far away help can really be. When the rescue helicopter flies over my house I am so thankful that there is an amazing crew heading to Mount Taranaki to help a tramper or to the back blocks to help a farmer. This funding will help those awesome crews to better provide this essential service.
Of course, as we do this, we’ll continue to carefully manage the books – and our careful fiscal management means we return to surplus quicker than National did after the global financial crisis.
This budget proves, yet again, that we back our farmers and provincial communities and are committed to providing the support needed to secure our future. These are just a few highlights and there’s a lot more in the Budget that will benefit people here in Raglan and if you’d like to more, I’d encourage you to check out labour.org.nz/budget2022
She is hosting a drop in ‘coffee and catch up’ session at The Shack Café on Thursday 26th May at 8am – 9.30.
We would love for you to drop in for a chat and a coffee.
Angela would love to hear what’s important to you and the Raglan community.
Fresh from parliament and the budget debate, Angela will also be able to answer any questions about what the budget means for you.