A Secure Future for our Community

We’ve just released this year’s Budget, which sets out the next steps in our plan to build a secure future for our community. I wanted to make sure that you’d heard about a couple of key Budget initiatives, including a cost of living package to support local people here on the North Shore.

Right now, the fundamentals of our economy are strong. We have record low unemployment, economic activity that is higher than it was before COVID-19, and debt lower than most countries we compare ourselves to. Our strong health response protected our economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve pulled through better than almost anywhere else in the world.

But we know that, despite these positive indicators, things are tough right now for many, as global inflation affects prices here at home. That’s why with Budget 2022, we’re taking further steps to ease the financial pressure on Kiwis, with a new cost of living package.

This package includes a new temporary payment to help people with higher food and power bills. This will benefit more than two million people earning up to $70,000 a year who don’t already receive the Winter Energy Payment, including many here on the North Shore. This means that up to 60% of people in my electorate benefit from this Government’s changes since April 1st.

Alongside this payment, we’re tackling transport costs, by extending our fuel tax cut, reduced road user charges and half price public transport for a further two months, and making half price public transport permanent for people on low incomes. We’re also taking action on supermarkets to make sure Kiwis are paying a fair price at the checkout.

I’m proud of this cost of living package, but it’s not the only part of the Budget that will benefit the people on the North Shore. To secure our future, we’re making our largest ever investment in the health system and Pharmac, ensuring more people can access lifesaving medicines and treatments. We’re also delivering more paramedics and ambulances, to ensure urgent care is on hand when needed, and improving support for people with serious and acute conditions, as part of our work to build a new mental health and addiction system. The changes that we will see with the establishment of Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority will ensure everyone one in our community will have equitable access to quality healthcare.

There’s a lot more in the Budget that will benefit our community including investment that helps us transition into low-emission transport, increased support through the Business Growth Fund, Digital and Apprenticeship Boosts, increased community policing capacity on our streets and investment in a crime prevention programme to help Police protect local small businesses affected by a spike in ram raids.

Look out for one of my local meetings to hear more.