Last Thursday, the Government announced its Budget 2021. This Budget again focuses on supporting New Zealand’s recovery from Covid-19. The focus was on increased social welfare payments and investment in social services, notably health. But there were some commitments to many industries relevant to engineering.

Here are some of the key announcements:

  • Infrastructure – The Government has committed additional funds to infrastructure ($57.3 billion over the next four years). This is a considerable increase from last year’s commitment ($42 billion over four years). Infrastructure continues to be the core of the Government’s economic recovery plan.
  • Rail – The Government has committed funding to support the procurement of 60 new locomotives and 1,900 new wagons, provide a top-up to the National Land Transport Fund to help restore a resilient and reliable rail network, and provide working capital for KiwiRail to ensure the maintenance of core freight, tourism, property and ICT assets.
  • Housing – The Government has committed $3.8 billion to a new Housing Acceleration Fund. The details of this fund are still being worked through, with further announcements expected in the coming months.
  • Decarbonisation – The Government has committed $300 million to recapitalise New Zealand Green Investment Finance to continue to invest in support of climate change mitigation, with a particular focus on decarbonising public transport, waste and plastics.

Small Business Digital Training, Advisory and Support Programme

As well as the relevant key announcements above, the Government has committed $44 million over the next two years to Digital Boost. Digital Boost provides business training courses for small to medium enterprises to support the adoption of digital ways of working. Training, advice and support services are delivered through the programme by private sector specialists.

For further information visit Digital Boost’s website.

How is Engineering New Zealand responding?

We know the Government needs engineers to realise its Budget ambitions. We also know there is a shortage of engineers, particularly in some disciplines (water, transport and rail, among others).

We will continue to advocate to Government to support the engineering workforce, through dedicated MIQ places for overseas engineers, ensuring work pipeline certainty and supporting the training and retention of engineers in New Zealand.

We are also committed to supporting the wellbeing of the profession. Please see our wellbeing page for further information.