Jacinda Ardern Optimistic About NZ’s Growth With Possible FTAs With UK And EU In Future

Summary

  • NZ PM briefed about various socio-economic issues faced by the nation as they get ready for Budget 2021.
  • PM gears up to lead a trade delegation to Australia in July. Future delegations to the US and China are in the pipeline as well.
  • NZ is hopeful of securing FTAs with the UK & the EU and eyeing travel bubbles with various countries in the upcoming period.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave valuable insights and spoke on a variety of issues faced by the country during the current year as the nation awaits Budget for this year.

Ardern’s speech came almost after a week after Grant Robertson, NZ’s Minister of Finance, gave a pre-budget speech stating Budget 2021 was a recovery budget.

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Delegations And Trade Relations

In her pre-budget speech as ‘Reconnecting to the World’, Ardern briefed on the trade and promotional delegation to Australia to take place in July, which would mark the NZ delegation’s first overseas visit since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The visit is intended to further intensify the Trans-Tasman relationship between the two neighbouring countries.

Later, Damien O'Connor, NZ’s Trade Minister, would visit London and Brussels to discuss about the country’s free trade agreements.

This would help in Aotearoa's post-COVID-19 recovery strategy by securing strategic FTAs, thereby enhancing the nation’s international market opportunities.

The PM further talked about major trading association with the US and plans to lead delegations to the US, China, and other Asian-Pacific region nations soon.

Travel Bubble With Other Nations

Further, New Zealand would commence quarantine free travel to the Cook Islands from 17 May.

It is hopeful of exploring travel arrangements with other countries. However, the country is following a cautious approach considering the pandemic situation in other nations.

Economic Recovery

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Ardern added that the country had successfully contained the spread of COVID-19 and the economy has fared better than the expectations.

Must Read: What powered NZ economy to tide over COVID-19 storm

The country's unemployment decreased to 4.7% in Q1 2021, with around 33K people joining paid work.

Exports have been steady and with the improved economic environment, businesses are looking forward to future growth and expansion.

Must Read: New Zealand Unveils New Fair Pay Agreements; Receives Mixed Response

Targeted Training and Apprentices Fund

Till 31 December 2022, the Government has made all the apprenticeships free and has included a wide range of qualifications in targeted areas like construction, primary industries, road transport, technology, etc.

Vaccination Roll-out

Ardern discussed about the country’s vaccination programme to be progressing as per the expectations.

Towards the end of May, DHBs will start vaccinating people over 65 years and by June end, the Government is hopeful of administering about one million vaccines.

The country is anticipating larger quantities of vaccines in July and is hopeful of vaccinating its entire population by the year end.

Review Of Immigration Rules

The PM informed that the Government was working towards improvising the nation’s immigration rules by reviewing the Skilled Migrant Category visa, wherein, it aimed to attract high-skilled migrants.

In early May, the state had declared the entry of additional 2400 RSE workers by March 2022.

Moreover, MIQ places will be earmarked for about 400 global students.

Optimism Holds The Key

Ardern remains confident and hopeful for the remaining 2021 and the future ahead and a more detailed and comprehensive budget will be revealed on 20 May.

The Government would continue to prioritise the health and safety of its citizens, working towards affordable housing and child wellbeing along with an emphasis on climate sustainability.

Must Read: How Crucial Is NZ Finance Sector’s Role In Climate Change? A Look At 5 Related Stocks


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