Grant Robertson presents economic plans ahead of budget
The finance minister said there would be tough decisions to make, but he said the government would pursue targeted measures to help low- and middle-income people.
Robertson said the government was pursuing an immigration reset targeting skills shortage sectors.
“We want our immigration to focus on how we build productivity. We want to make sure it’s in the sectors that work for us as a country rather than being a more hit-or-miss exercise.
“The corollary of this is to make it easier for companies in these sectors to recruit the people they need.”
Robertson said Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi was working on the reset and included plans for sectors such as building and construction, or in infrastructure where skills are needed.
Robertson also stressed the need for New Zealand to diversify its export market, which is currently heavily dependent on China.
Bilateral trade between the two nations was just over $11 billion in the three months to December, well ahead of New Zealand’s second largest trading partner, Australia, at just under $6 billion. dollars.
“As a country, we have to make sure that we trade with the whole world, but making sure that our main and key markets are growing.
“China will always be a very important market for New Zealand, it has to be. It’s a very, very big country not that far from us. But if Covid has taught us anything, it’s to s make sure your eggs aren’t in a basket,” Robertson said.
He said the government was delighted to finalize its free trade agreement with the UK recently, and that one of the priorities going forward was to secure a deal with the 27-member European Union, which will turned out to be tricky.
The government also wanted to support inclusion in the economy.
“[Covid] has exposed the injustices and inequalities in our society and we cannot let them get worse. People want to go back to normal, I get that, but in some ways normal wasn’t great.
“That’s why we will continue to focus on increasing incomes for low-income households,” Robertson said.
He reaffirmed that health spending would be one of the pillars of the 2022 budget.