New Zealanders have made a lot of sacrifices over the past couple of months and this has led to our country’s health response to COVID-19 being an effective one.

We’ve succeeded in flattening the curve but now our attention must turn to avoiding flattening the economy. We need to safeguard our children and grandchildren’s future and leave a country where they can build a life and a career.

Forecasts have painted a stark picture of the economic downturn we can expect and it is not a pretty picture. Westpac expects Government debt to rise to 50 per cent of GDP over the next four years. This would equate to nearly $100 billion in additional Government debt that will need to be repaid. ASB estimate an even sharper rise to 60 per cent of GDP, close to $120 billion more to pay off.

These figures work out at more than $50,000 in additional Government debt per household.

If we’re to lessen the economic impact the best thing we can do right now is save jobs. This means supporting small businesses to keep growing in a Post-COVID world. National has proposed a GST refund to businesses that have lost more than 50 per cent of revenue for two months as a way of helping this. This cash injection would help businesses that were potentially going to close stay open and keep their employees on the payroll. With 1000 people joining the dole queue a day under lockdown we need to be acting now to keep New Zealanders in employment.

Simon Bridges
National Party Leader