On the global stage, New Zealand’s economy has obvious vulnerabilities: its reliance on export, uncertainties affecting major markets and political instability across many regions, complicated by a lack of coherent global action on climate change.
This Budget has focused on climate change, land use and national infrastructure. With a capital boost of over $3b, the aim is to create opportunities for businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable low-emissions economy.
The $229m Sustainable Land Use Package will fund projects to protect waterways and wetlands and support farmers and growers in using their land more sustainably. It provides funding for advice to farmers; support for Māori agribusiness and farmers changing over to more environmentally sustainable and higher value production; improving on-farm emissions data and upgrading decision and regulatory tools; protecting high value food exports; and updating the country’s official assurances system. An additional $49m is allocated to help transform the forestry sector and support the One Billion Trees programme.
$1b over the next two years is allocated to modernising KiwiRail. Reduced carbon emissions and increased regional business opportunities are key drivers. If taking heavy traffic off our roads reduces our road toll, the payback will be in human capital.