This is an incredibly important election.

The next Government must be able to keep New Zealand safe – and rebuild better so that we address the long-term challenges we are facing like climate change, inequality, the housing crisis and population growth.

Labour has a five-point economic plan to guide our recovery and rebuild – to invest in our people; support our small businesses to rebuild; prepare for the future; create jobs and strengthen our global position.

We’re putting people at the heart of our plan. That’s why we are providing income support and access to training. We've cushioned the blow with the wage subsidy that supported around 1.7 million jobs through the lockdown, and extended the wage subsidy for another eight weeks for firms and workers in especially hard-hit industries. We supported incomes with the COVID redundancy payment of up to $490 a week, and increased main benefits by $25 a week.

We’ve also made apprenticeships and many trades training courses free for the next two years, saving tens of thousands of learners up to $6,500 each and giving employers a great stream of new workers.

Our recovery and rebuild is focused on getting Kiwis back to work, supporting industries, and rolling out infrastructure investment around the country to create jobs.

That’s why we are upgrading New Zealand’s crucial infrastructure like hospitals, schools, roads, and public transport so the country we rebuild is better than the one we inherited.

This includes roads and rail to keep people safe and get people moving; our neglected schools and hospitals, by providing up to $400,000 to almost every state school; child, maternity and mental health facilities; and our public services to help them become more clean and green by replacing coal heaters with clean energy in schools and hospitals. We are also delivering extra state houses, giving the building industry a good pipeline of new work.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of our economy. That’s why we’ve continued to provide interest free loans of up to $100,000 to help businesses stay afloat; refunded more than $3 billion of business tax relief to help cash flow and created the Tourism Recovery Fund to help weather the storm and protect jobs.

This is also our chance to future proof the economy and ensure we emerge with a more sustainable economy.

That’s why we are investigating clean energy projects to work towards our 100 percent renewable target and looking for new opportunities, like pumped hydro storage at Lake Onslow. We have also created almost 11,000 Jobs for Nature that’ll nurture our environment and improve our tourism infrastructure.

Finally, as a trading nation we rely on international customers. That’s why we are promoting our primary sector roadmap Fit For a Better World to accelerate the productivity, sustainability and inclusiveness of the primary sector to deliver more value for all New Zealanders.

We have also invested in NZ Trade and Enterprise to provide on-the-ground support for Kiwi exporters in key markets to boost trade.

We will also continue negotiating free trade agreements with the UK and EU, and further advancing the Digital Economic Partnership Agreement and the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade, and Sustainability.

Labour has a plan to rebuild better and the leadership to implement that plan and to keep New Zealand moving.

*The views expressed in this opinion piece is of the author's alone and does not necessarily reflect that of the publishers.