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In response to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Jacinda Ardern’s Government is injecting billions of dollars into the economy to ease the impacts of a recession. 

According to reporters at Stuff, “At no time in recent history has there been so much public money made available for spending in such a short period.”

At no time in recent history has there been so much public money made available for spending in such a short period. At no time in recent history has there been so much public money made available for spending in such a short period.
At no time in recent history has there been so much public money made available for spending in such a short period. (CC) Michal Klajban / CC BY-SA

What should our economic recovery from Covid-19 look like? Understandably, our newsfeeds are overflowing with reckons about how the Government should be spending this sizable wad of cash. But I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that these reckons are overwhelmingly pale and male.

Do the stories we hear about the economic recovery in mainstream media reflect the aspirations of New Zealand’s diverse population? I think it’s unlikely. So it’s worth supplementing what we’re hearing on radio, TV and in the papers with some other perspectives.

Below is a list of 10 perspectives on the Covid-19 Economic Recovery. But we’ve undoubtedly missed plenty of the good ideas out there. So please add links to your favourite analyses – or add your own ideas – in the comments below. We’ll incorporate them into a future blog.

1. Aotearoa Town Hall

By Tamatha Paul and Thomas Nash

Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul and Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Thomas Nash have been running a regular series of online panel events since the first Lockdown. Their Aotearoa Town Hall is the most broad-based forum for discussing the Covid-19 Economic Recovery – and how we Build Back Better – that I have seen here in New Zealand. Subscribe to their page for upcoming town halls. If you have time, it’s well-worth scrolling through the back catalogue of interviews too.

2. A truly fair budget is a budget that understands whakapapa

By Laura O’Connell Rapira

Action Station Director, Laura O’Connell Rapira, reflected on how the Government should spend its Covid Recovery Fund ahead of the Government’s 2020 Budget. Her analysis rings true as the Government continues to make big spending decisions.

“Will this government learn from the past or will they repeat it? Will they make choices that make privately-owned corporations rich or will they act as an honourable Treaty partner?”

3. Early childhood educators are shovel-ready

By ECE Voice

The Government has called for “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects as a way to create new jobs quickly. Early childhood educators are reclaiming the shovel-ready brand, reminding our political leaders that “building for the future isn’t just about building roads or bike paths – it’s also about investing in people”.

4. Amsterdam to embrace ‘doughnut’ model to mend post-coronavirus economy

Kate Raworth

Oxford economist, Kate Raworth, has put her famous “doughnut economics” model into practice by helping to design Amsterdam’s economic recovery from Covid-19. As the article sums up, this means, “Out with the global attachment to economic growth and laws of supply and demand, and in with the so-called doughnut model devised by Raworth as a guide to what it means for countries, cities and people to thrive in balance with the planet.”

Raworth was also interviewed for Aotearoa Town Hall earlier this year.

5. More funding is welcome, but the budget was still a missed opportunity for Māori

By Missy Te Kanawa

Te Kanawa is KPMG’s National Māori Sector lead. She reflects on the Government’s 2020 (Covid Recovery) Budget – the opportunities that were missed and the pathways the Government should explore going forward. 

“In the wake of Covid-19, Budget 2020’s short-term outlook was necessary – and therefore somewhat underwhelming. But that’s not the end of it. We have an opportunity to ensure that approaches to the short term spend incorporate longer-term mechanisms so Māori can get the uplift we seek.”

6. How Indian communities stepped up in lockdown New Zealand

By Gaurav Sharma

Editor and co-founder of the Multicultural Times, Gaurav Sharma documents the nationwide effort of Indian sub-continental community organisations in providing hands-on support during the pandemic. His analysis shows the enormous value of unpaid community work.

“As New Zealand has confronted the challenges of this unprecedented crisis, Indian sub-continental community organisations have extended their hands – both to help those in our own communities and to New Zealand society at large.”

7. Recession hits Māori and Pasifika harder. They must be part of planning New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery.

By Tahu Kukutai, Helen Moewaka Barnes, Tim McCreanor and Tracey Mcintosh

The authors explore how an alternative lens on the Covid Economic Recovery can deliver lasting benefits for communities that are most affected by both the pandemic and the recession.

“By re-imagining our futures we can address unjust and unsustainable inequities. An unrelenting and system-wide focus on equity is clearly needed. We also need to amplify and support what is strong including a respectful treatment of te taiao (environment) and mana motuhake (self-governance, autonomy) in diverse communities and households.”

9. Alternative Aotearoa Seminar

Alternative Aotearoa was a one-day seminar held at Pipitea Marae in July 2020. It featured a broad base of speakers on the issue of the Covid Economic Recovery. Helpfully, every speech was recorded and individually posted online. You can find a list of all the speakers and read or watch their speeches here.

10. The Aotearoa Wellbeing Commitment

By PSA Union

New Zealand’s largest public sector union has developed the Aotearoa Wellbeing Commitment – a campaign for universal basic services. They are running a series of panel events with speakers from a range of perspectives. Watch this space.

Are you a writer, economist or analyst with ideas about how we build back better through the Covid Economic Recovery? Do you identify as part of a community that isn’t being well-represented in mainstream media? Please let us know about your work in the comments so that we can help share and amplify all the good ideas that aren’t being heard.

Want to support a green and just recovery from Covid-19? Join us as we call on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Build Back Better.