Budget 2020: Winston Peters rejects 'helicopter' cash payouts to all Kiwis to help stimulate economy

Source: 1News

Helicopter payments won't be used by the Government as a means to help stimulate the economy after Covid-19, according to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

At the end of last month, Finance Minister Grant Robertson hinted at the possibility of a "helicopter payment" for all Kiwis - a lump sum payment for each citizen intended to encourage spending and boost the local economy. The tactic was recently employed by the US government. 

Included in the Budget today is a $50 billion Covid-19 response and recovery fund, consisting of a $4 billion business support package that includes a targeted $3.2 billion to extend the wage subsidy scheme.

However, $20.2 billion has also been put aside by the Government for future use.

Speaking to media today, the Deputy Prime Minister was questioned about that $20.2 billion potentially going directly into the pockets of Kiwis through a universal cash handout.

"We don't believe in helicopter payments," said Mr Peters.

"We believe in investment strategies that take people on to a better life and provide them real hope."

Mr Peters, alongside New Zealand First Deputy Shane Jones, also outlined how he would prefer to see that $20 billion spent.

"We'd like to see it spent on smart, clever economic recovery strategies.

"We've got to learn something from this Covid-19.

"We've learnt, for example, the instability of the dependence on one market. We should have learnt that lesson when the UK left us and joined the EU in the early '70s - we didn't. We went straight back and did it again.

"This time, we've got to diversify our markets, be smarter, add value here, have far greater wealth export strategies and make far more money per person, like the Nordic countries do, like Iceland does.

"It's not difficult to find models of that success. We need to have learned from them not to have some of these outdated political ideology approaches that have never worked anywhere in the world, anywhere in history."