Budget 2018: What’s in store?
The Labour-led coalition government will announce its first budget today, and has already indicated a strong focus on social investment is one of its priorities.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson will deliver the Budget in parliament this afternoon.
The government has already announced increased funding for young children with extra learning needs, setting aside $21.5 million over four years for these children in early childhood education.
Through Budget 2018, the government is also allocating an additional $76.157 million over four years to support the delivery of Ministry of Social Development-funded family violence services for victims, perpetrators and their families.
The government is also hiking foreign aid by US$500 million (NZ$714 million) over the next four years, as part of its "Pacific reset" strategy. The funding boost represents a 30 per cent increase in overseas development funding.
However, Tauranga MP and Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says this new spending is thanks to the work of the previous government.
“The government is awash with cash, which is thanks to hardworking New Zealanders and National’s nine years of responsible economic management while in office.
“But they’ve over-promised, and are confused around what their priorities should be. They’re taxing and borrowing a lot more, and there will be some wasteful spending there – for example, $2.8 billion in free fees for all tertiary students, even if that student is the child of a millionaire”
He says the government has already broken a number of promises.
“They promised 1800 new sworn police officers, and it’s going to be much fewer than that. They promised universal cheaper GP visits, and they’ve made it clear they’re not keeping that.”
He believes the Budget will be ‘a handbrake on jobs and growth’.
“While we tried to make the economic boat go faster, these guys have dropped anchor. All of their policies will slow down the country over time.
“We would reduce tax when we could and borrow less. And we would keep our promises, which these guys seem incapable of doing.”
Keep checking in with SunLive throughout the afternoon as the government announces Budget 2018 to find out how areas such as tax, education, health, and social welfare are affected.