MP's view: Bettering our future with the economy

Rachel Brooking
Rachel Brooking
There’s no question our economy has taken a knock following the extreme weather events, but New Zealand is in a good position to get through these challenging times and come out stronger, writes Dunedin-based Labour list MP Dr Rachel Brooking.

Record numbers of people are in work and wages are rising faster than inflation.

Tourists are returning in greater numbers, we’re upskilling more New Zealanders, and our debt levels are among the lowest in the world.

As part of our plan to build for the future, we’re making major investments like the new $1.68billion Dunedin Hospital.

Apart from providing state-of-the-art healthcare for our people, the new hospital will provide a new modern, future-focused training ground for our university and polytechnic students.

The Government has funded a significant increase in the University of Otago’s medical student intake, and maintained its $17million contribution to a new interdisciplinary learning centre should the University of Otago and Te Pūkenga co-invest in the future.

These investments will help cement Dunedin and Otago’s international leadership in medical and health sciences, supporting both the wellbeing of our residents and the strength of our economy.

We’re also positioning New Zealand to take on the opportunities ahead.

We’re backing new industries like the video game sector, through the Dunedin-based Centre of Digital Excellence (Code), to diversify our economy and create high-wage jobs.

We’re also locking in New Zealand’s high-value export potential.

As the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, I was particularly pleased to see that our seafood exporters were doing so well after a couple of tough years. Seafood export revenue is expected to reach a record $2.1billion in the year to the end of June. This is great news for places like Otago, and a testament to the hard work of our fishers.

It also reflects our strong record on trade, which has seen us unlock access to some of the world’s biggest and most lucrative markets.

Since taking office, we’ve secured four new free-trade agreements, including with the United Kingdom, supporting businesses and jobs right across the economy.

These are just some of the ways that we’re working to grow the economy and build a better future.