Our economy and the case for optimism

When we look around the world, there is no doubt that things are getting gloomier.

You’ve probably seen the headlines about Europe’s energy crisis, worldwide supply chain issues, and inflation in the United States.

While there will be some challenges ahead for us, too, there are many reasons for New Zealanders to be optimistic about the future — and I want to share some of them with you here.

Together, we’ve ensured that our economy has pulled through the pandemic better than the Global Financial Crisis. New Zealand’s debt is low, GDP is up, our exports are in demand, and we’re seeing more people in work, with higher wages, which makes both South Otago families and our economy stronger.

New Zealand is starting the next phase of our economic recovery in a stronger position than many, despite facing the same global headwinds.

That’s because we’ve built unique advantages that give us reason for optimism.

Take, for example, our Government’s focus on securing New Zealand’s clean, green brand.

This has given the country an economic advantage — boosting exports, tourism and business investment.

Our ongoing investment in renewable energy has also helped shelter us from the energy crisis that European nations are facing right now.

All of this means that we’re able to move forward with our plan to build a high›wage, low-emissions economy that gives Southern families economic security in good times and bad.

To do this, we will continue to support local businesses to thrive, and grow jobs and wages, as well as continuing to drive home the country’s unique advantages.

On top of that, we’re able to target investment into critical services to continue building more homes, upgrading schools and health facilities, and improving roads and transport, while at the same time bringing down debt further.

According to Infometrics [Quarterly Economic Monitor June 2022], the Clutha economy grew by a strong 4.2% in the year to June 2022.

It goes on to say that this is an impressive result given rising costs and challenges with finding staff in a tight labour market.

While the fundamentals of our economy are strong, we know that things are tough right now for many families in South Otago. That’s why we’re continuing to tackle global inflation and support households with the cost of living, including with a fuel tax cut, the cost of living payment, the winter energy payment, action on supermarkets, and more.

We will continue to be right alongside local businesses, workers and families as we take the opportunities that lie ahead for our region, too.