Analysis - Budget 2018: 1 NEWS' Jessica Mutch and Simon Dallow break it down - 'A little bit flat'

The Budget 2018 was announced today, as the government opened its books to the country. 

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch and presenter Simon Dallow analysed the impact of the decisions. 

OVERVIEW

The Budget 2018 release was a prudent and cautious, and a "little bit flat", say 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch and presenter Simon Dallow.

The sector will receive $4 billion in funding, allowing for cheaper doctors' visits for half a million Kiwis. Source: 1 NEWS

Mutch said what was revealed today was "almost half of the Budget", after Finance Minister Grant Robertson "played all of his big cards in the mini-Budget".

"It's prudent... it's cautious," Dallow said.

Mutch described it as the "nuts and bolts" Budget, being "a little bit flat", with "all the fun things" already announced.

Health

Health was "clearly the winner" in Budget 2018, said Mutch.

The sector will see a $3.2 billion boost over the next four years, with an extra $850 million in new capital.

It includes a $2.3b boost for District Health Boards, cheaper GP visits for 600,000 low income Kiwis and an extension of free doctor visits for children up to age 14, as well as a nod in the direction of community midwives.

Despite the boost, Mutch said it wasn't as much of a cash injection as what was expected. Dallow said the allocation to GP visits came after the criticism of Labour's election policy to implement cheaper GP visits for all New Zealanders on July 1, which is now being "phased".

Education

Early childhood took a "big chunk" of education funding, with $1.6 billion not seeming "like a lot", said Ms Mutch.

Housing

Dallow said the funding for housing was "quite disappointing", however, if the KiwiBuild is factored into this Budget it increases the allocation.

Budget 2018 did not give "as much as expected" to housing.

Pay Parity

There was no provision in the Budget for pay parity, Dallow said.

"That case [pay parity for rest home workers] opened up a whole new can of worms for the government, it's an interesting thing to leave out," Mutch said.
 

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch says there was no lolly scramble in Wellington today. Source: 1 NEWS

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Police name man killed in fatal Rotorua motorcycle crash

Police have released the name of the person who died in a motorcycle crash in Rotorua earlier this week.

Police car
Police car Source: 1 NEWS

The man was 47-year-old Thomas Hunuhunu of Rotorua.

Police were called to a crash on Deven Street West around 2am on Thursday morning after a motorcycle collided with a tree.

The motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the crash and the driver died at the scene.

The Serious Crash Unit is still investigating the fatal accident.

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Drug testing legalisation at NZ festivals on the cards

The Government is considering legalising drug-testing services at festivals.

A community organisation, Know Your Stuff, said the law hindered people's access to pill testing at events, which put users at risk.

Its managing director Wendy Allison said section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act made it a criminal offence to permit a venue to be used for drug consumption, so the presence of pill testing would demonstrate that the event organisers knew that people use drugs.

"Section 12 was never intended to prevent harm reduction services from happening at events."

"An unintended consequence of the Section has been to deter event organisers from providing harm reduction services such as pill testing, removing this barrier is an obvious step towards keeping people safe."

Health Minister David Clark said the coalition Government was dealing with drug use as a health and harm reduction issue.

"In light of this, I've had initial discussions with the Justice Minister about 'drug checking' services.

"Through him, I've asked for advice on the legislative and criminal justice issues around such services."

rnz.co.nz- Chris Bramwell

Johann Hari, who spent several years researching drug use, addiction and treatment for his book, says we’ve misunderstood addiction.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Tertiary students tackle social, cultural and environmental issues in dazzling Auckland light show

Unitec Institute of Technology is using innovative electric vehicle technology to power students’ light installations at this year’s GLOW@Artweek festival on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve.

Unitec partnered with Auckland energy company Vector for the light show where installations by students look at different issues in society.

The festival also prides itself on being environmentally friendly, with energy being taken from two Nissan Leaf G2 electric cars to provide the power needed to run the nine different light projects.

The cars act as a rechargeable and mobile renewable energy source for the duration of the festival.

Vector’s New Technology Lead, Moonis Vegdani, says, “Two-way EV chargers are an example of the future of energy. They basically transform electric vehicles into mobile storage batteries, enabling energy to be charged or discharged anywhere there is a two-way charger. It’s perfect for a temporary light installation such as GLOW@Artweek.”

Nine teams of second-year Unitec Architecture students designed a diverse range of interactive light installations on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve for the event, working to a zero-waste, zero-budget brief.

Students sought sponsorship for their designs, which also featured a range of sustainable materials.

"Sustainability is a key factor in the design and construction of the students’ works and having access to an alternative, rechargeable power source in a large-scale outdoor venue is extremely exciting," Unitec Architecture lecturer Ainsley O'Connell said. 

Devonport came to life thanks to the work of Unitec architecture students in “Glow”. Source: 1 NEWS


Five rare kiwi chicks fighting fit for release in Southland

Five rare kiwi chicks will be released back into their Southland home now they are heavy enough to fight off stoats alone.

The Haast Tokoeka Kiwi is the rarest kiwi, with a wild population of between 400 and 500 birds.

The chicks were raised in a kiwi creche on predator-free Rona Island in Lake Manapouri.

Department of Conservation South Westland senior ranger Inge Bolt said the island had kept the birds safe from stoats, which would kill most kiwi before they became adults.

"Only Haast tokoeka, which have reached a weight of 1.6kg, will make the final move back to their place of birth. At this weight, they are better able to fend off attack from stoats."

It took many people, organisations and volunteers to raise kiwi to an age where they could be returned to their home.

Without their work, the wild population of Haast Tokoeka kiwi would be significantly lower, Ms Bolt said.

"It's a really important thing that we step in and do what we can at this stage, we're trying to find out more as we go so that we can better understand the species, and the more that we understand them, the better we can help them."

The chicks will be released next week.

rnz.co.nz

Close up of a kiwi bird a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand.
Kiwi. Source: istock.com


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