August 6, 2020

Opinion: Time to Rebuild Together, says Jamie Strange

By: Jamie Strange

Hamilton has won the battle to host the headquarters of New Zealand’s new Institute of Skills and Technology, a merger of New Zealand’s Polytechnics.

Well done to our Hamilton team who put together a strong bid: Wintec, Hamilton City Council, Te Waka, Tainui, Chamber of Commerce, and various businesses, community groups and civic leaders.

This announcement follows on the heels of Hamilton being chosen at the location of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court in December 2019, and the Criminal Cases Review Commission in February 2020.

Hamilton is coming of age and has a key role to play in New Zealand’s future.

New Zealanders work best when we work together, and over the last few months, that’s exactly what I’ve seen right across our country.

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We united as a team of five million and went hard and early to fight COVID-19. We stayed home and we saved lives. And, thanks to all of you, so far it’s working. 

Now, as we continue to play it safe to stop another outbreak, it’s time for us to rebuild and recover together.

To get our economy moving, we know our focus needs to be on jobs. That’s why, from the very beginning, our economic response has prioritised protecting jobs and keeping businesses afloat. From the wage subsidy scheme to interest-free loans for small businesses, we moved quickly to get money out the door to support workers and businesses. 

Now, we’re taking the next steps in our plan with Budget 2020: Rebuilding Together. 

This year’s Budget is all about getting New Zealand moving again. The centrepiece is our $50 billion COVID Rebuild and Recovery Fund, which will create jobs, get business moving and support New Zealanders.

The fund includes a targeted extension to the wage subsidy to keep the most affected Kiwis in work. In the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions this will be especially welcome in the tourism, hospitality, events and export education sectors.

The Budget also includes initiatives to create new jobs, train people to have the skills they need for the jobs we have, and support people to get into work. This means we’re investing in major new infrastructure, and also in projects like:

  • Boosting the apprenticeships scheme to enable people to upskill and retrain, and partnering with industry to fill skills gaps in the workforce.
  • Creating thousands of new jobs that help to protect our environment, including through our Jobs for Nature programme.
  • Investing in businesses to boost their research and development, which will create jobs and lift wages.

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This year’s budget is also about rebuilding our economy better. This includes building 8,000 public houses to help the construction sector get moving again while providing warm, dry homes for thousands of families.

Budget also includes expanding the Lunches in Schools programme to ensure up to 200,000 Kiwi kids can learn on a full stomach and help lighten the load on families struggling in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Now’s the time to create a New Zealand we’re truly proud of. Now’s the time to stay safe, lock in the gains we made in recent weeks, and recover as a nation. Now’s the time to build back better. Now’s the time to rebuild together.

Jamie Strange, Labour List MP based in Hamilton

jamie.strange@parliament.govt.nz ; www.facebook.com/jamiestrangemp

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Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this column, ViewPoint are the personal opinions of the writer, and do not reflect the views of NewsViews nor does it ascribe to these in any manner. NewsViews and/or persons associated with it also do not assume any responsibility or liability, if any, arising out of the views expressed here by the writer. ViewPoint is ‘by invitation’ only opinion column.

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