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A Wellbeing Budget for Covid-19 times

In the third Wellbeing Budget on May 14, which will respond to the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, at least the following items are vital to ensure the New Zealand economy does not continue to be low wage, low productivity, high rent and high carbon:

  • Support for industry that commits to paying at least living wage rates
  • Plans for retaining and redeployment of displaced workers
  • Initial steps on social insurance
  • Increased building of affordable rental and owner housing.
  • Individualising and increasing benefits
  • Reducing abatement levels and raising thresholds for Working for Families
  • Increased numbers of Labour and Worksafe inspectors
  • Increased funding and a plan to manage the health backlog – both pre and post Covid-19
  • Increased funding and ensuring that He Ara Oranga can adequately cope with the mental health issues associated with increased unemployment and poverty
  • Additional funding for social service NGOs with massively increased demand but reduced philanthropic funding
  • Ensuring that all income received is taxed – whether from a closely held company or a rental property.

While the official indicators have a lag, what is interesting is that the share market, bond market and house prices are either currently not falling or not by as much as could be expected from the severity of the lockdown.

Download the full bulletin: CTU Economic Bulletin 219 – April 2020