New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid is ‘a lot better than expected,’ says deputy prime minister

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson speaks to media during a post cabinet press conference at Parliament on Nov. 09, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

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New Zealand’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic has been “a lot better than expected,” its Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told CNBC Thursday.

That has allowed New Zealand to spend “large sums of money” on helping its low-income population while still keeping its net debt in check, Robertson told CNBC’s Will Koulouris.

Robertson delivered New Zealand’s latest government budget earlier on Thursday.

One highlight of the budget was boosting weekly welfare payments by up to 55 New Zealand dollars (around $39.50) per adult to tackle inequality and child poverty. Robertson said in his budget speech that the planned increase will be the largest in “more than a generation.”

The budget also allocated spending for Covid-19 vaccines, infrastructure, education and welfare of the indigenous Maori.

The planned spending is estimated to raise the budget deficit to 18.4 billion New Zealand dollars ($13.2 billion) in the fiscal year ending June 2022 before declining in subsequent years, according to New Zealand’s Treasury.

Deficit for the current fiscal year ending June 2021 is expected to be 15.1 billion New Zealand dollars.

Net debt is also estimated to grow from 34% in the current fiscal year ending June 2021 to 43.8% in the following fiscal year.

Covid success

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