Chair of EDANZ encouraged by 2017 Budget
EDANZ encouraged by budgets support of economic development
The recently announced 2017 budget has been the cause for optimism for economic development practitioners. The $1billion earmarked to support an innovative New Zealand will be critical to lift the country’s economic performance as will the $4 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects across the country. New Zealand still has some way to go to catch up on the lack of infrastructure spend in the 80’s and 90’s so any investment in this area is beneficial.
Clearly the government has heard and responded to the need for tourism infrastructure as visitor numbers continue to climb and place pressure on infrastructure designed for local populations. The commitment to spending a proportion of $93m on development of Maori tourism product will be a boon to the industry, creating a point of difference that no other country can boast.
Equally the recognition of the importance of a local film industry as a stage for New Zealand internationally through the ring fencing of over $220 million over the next four years is welcomed.
Education is a big winner in this budget with $392m devoted to new infrastructure, a further
$ 69.3 million for increased tertiary fee subsidies, $1.1 billion for schools and early childhood centres, roll growth and demand, and $ 52.5 million for university research funds (PBRF). Like infrastructure, an effective and productive education system is fundamental to a strong economy.
The $134 million identified to forge new and better trade opportunities is helpful, especially so if aligned with the efforts currently underway at a regional economic development agency level.
It would have been great to see some of the surplus spent on lifting and attracting skills, especially within the tourism industry and it is a little surprising that there is very little in the budget that will address the affordable housing crisis within some areas of New Zealand but nevertheless it is a solid budget that speaks to many of the big issues within New Zealand.
Chair of EDANZ, Dr David Wilson
021 763 085
27 May 2017
The Economic Development Association of New Zealand is a not for profit entity that represents economic development practitioners through out New Zealand, including the 14 regional economic development agencies.