New Zealand announces stimulus package as it faces recession

Jacinda Ardern, prime minister, has today announced a significant stimulus package for the people of New Zealand – worth $NZ 12.1 billion or four per cent of gross domestic product – in an effort to combat the negative impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

The package has been labelled by ministers as “the most significant peace-time economic plan in the country’s modern history”.

The package includes a wage guarantee for people who are required to self-isolate and who cannot work from home, and for those caring for relatives who are sick with the virus.

Other measures include:

          tax relief

          more money for low-income families and those on social welfare

          bolstering the healthcare sector’s response to the virus, and

          support for the aviation industry.

“This package is one of the largest in the world on a per capita basis,” said Grant Robertson, New Zealand’s finance minister.

To date, New Zealand has only eight confirmed and two probable cases of COVID-19. However, strict travel restrictions, which require almost all arriving international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days, are expected to have a negative impact on local businesses.

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