Jacinda Ardern outlines Labour's economic plan at party congress

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlined Labour's economic plan at the party's congress before the election, as the country hits high debt levels to grapple with the Covid-19 fallout. 

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She says the country’s strong health response gave it an economic headstart. Source: 1 NEWS

Addressing the party membership in Wellington today, Ms Ardern began by outlining the events that shaped her term as Prime Minister. 

"I can’t think of a time in our recent history when we have been collectively challenged by such a cruel combination of events - a terrorist attack, a volcanic eruption, a global pandemic and now its ensuing financial crisis.

"When a terrorist tried to divide us we came together and we said they are us. When a volcano erupted we threw our arms around those effected whether they were from near or far.

"And when Covid arrived we didn’t hesitate to act, knowing it was the only way to protect those around us. 

"We stayed home."

She moved onto the party's five point plan for economic recovery, which included extending the Small Business Loan Scheme and outlining projects to clean up waterways. 

"It’s about investing in our people, it’s about jobs, preparing for our future, supporting our small businesses, entrepreneurs and job creators and positioning ourselves globally," Ms Ardern said. 

The five point plan included:

- 'Investing in our people' which was around trades and apprenticeships.

- 'Jobs, jobs, jobs', that saw the Prime Minister announce more projections from the $1.1 billion Jobs for Nature package that was already announced at Budget 2020. 

"These projects will help restore our wetlands, rivers and streams, regenerate native bush and control pests while creating much needed meaningful work in the regions," Ms Ardern said. 

- 'Preparing for the future' - Ms Ardern said this would include investments in waste management and improving energy generation, adding "this is where I am signally there is more to come". 

- 'Supporting our small businesses, our entrepreneurs and our job creators' - Part of this was extending the Small Business Loan Scheme for businesses to apply until the end of the year, after it was due to end on July 24.  

"This means those businesses who are doing OK now, but who may experience cash flow difficulties further down the track will still have access to it," Ms Ardern said. 

The loans are interest free if paid back within a year and will provide $10,000 to every firm, in addition to $1800 per equivalent full time employee. The passing of the law was the result of an administration error, Interest reported. 

- 'Continue to position New Zealand globally as a place to trade with, to invest in, and eventually to visit again'.

"We are progressing with all the checks and balances needed for a trans-Tasman bubble, and also on reconnecting with our Pacific neighbours," Ms Ardern said. 

"We have a framework in place will help Cabinet made a decision on when quarantine free travel with these parts of the world should resume."

This morning, Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame the framework was already established to open up New Zealand's border with Australia, but Covid-19 in Victoria was causing delays. 

"At the moment, Australia wants to move as a country rather than state-by-state, and obviously issues in Victoria are delaying that," Ms Ardern said.