Budget 2018: What the Labour-led Government has already promised

Tune into 1 NEWS' hour-long Budget 2018 special live on TVNZ1 and here at ONE NEWS NOW at 2pm.

The government has trickled out pre-Budget announcements including conservation, foreign affairs and homelessness, ahead of the Budget today at 2pm. 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced on May 8 a "slightly better-than-expected" run-up to the government's first Budget, with a surplus sitting $910 million higher than forecast by Treasury last December

The Finance Minister said he wants to move New Zealand's economy to one that is "more productive, more sustainable, and more inclusive". Source: 1 NEWS

He said that was an indication that business profits were higher, along with a continuation of "strong" employment growth.

Health will get a 'long overdue boost', the Finance Minister said, while speaking to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce today. Source: 1 NEWS

The Labour-led government will spend $42 billion on infrastructure and critical public services over the next five years, $10 billion more than forecast by the previous government, Mr Robertson revealed last Thursday.

Transport, health and education look to be priorities in today's Budget. 

The announcements so far:

Sunday, May 13 – Early intervention services for children

The Prime Minister made the announcement in Auckland today. Source: 1 NEWS

The government unveiled a $21.5 million funding increase for thousands more young children to access the additional learning support before they begin school.

It is said to help ensure that an additional 8,000 more children will be supported for the next four years.  

Early intervention services will also receive an extra $272,000 capital to support the IT costs of additional staff.

Saturday, May 12 – Predator control

Rat Source: istock.com

An extra $81 million will be allocated to the Department of Conservation for predator control, over the next four years.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said it would mean DOC would not have to "scramble" in order to carry out essential work.

However, National's Sarah Dowie called the funding boost "another broken promise".

"The $81.3 million increase over four years is a 4.6 per cent increase and barely more than inflation - and it's less than what National put up," Ms Dowie said in a statement.

"National's 2017 Budget committed more than $107 million to DOC – the largest funding injection in its history."

Friday, May 11 - Te Uru Rākau, forestry 

The 1 NEWS political team discuss the government's decision to issue no more permits for offshore NZ oil and gas exploration.
Source: 1 NEWS

The new forestry service, Te Uru Rākau, was given an allocation of $15 million for operating funds, Forestry Ministry Shane Jones announced last week.

"I'm pleased to be able to announce today that Budget 2018 will set aside $15 million of operating funds to boost the capability of the new service, enabling it to work with landowners, provide forestry expertise and deliver on the Government’s forestry objectives," Mr Jones said. 

Wednesday, May 9 - Frontline domestic violence

Seventy-six million dollars will be injected into the sector. Source: 1 NEWS

The government announced a $76 million funding boost in next week's budget for those working on the frontline against family violence.

The boost of funding will go to around 150 providers of anti-family violence services.

Tuesday, May 8 - Foreign affairs and development 

Josie Pagani, director of the Council for International Development, said it was a "massive improvement". Source: 1 NEWS

Over $900 million will go into the foreign affairs and development sector over the next four years. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced in a pre-Budget speech that an extra $714.2 million would go to foreign aid, mainly around the Pacific region over the next four years, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would see an increase of $150.4 million over the next four years, as well as $40.3 million in capital expenditure. 

Mr Peters said the funding increase would open up 50 more positions in foreign policy and the New Zealand embassy in Stockholm, Sweden would reopen.

Friday, May 4 - Homelessness

The money will go on extra emergency housing as well as a programme for long-time street sleepers. Source: 1 NEWS

The government says it is "pulling out all the stops" to reduce homelessness, allocating $100 million into tackling homelessness and urgent housing.

In the pre-Budget announcement, the government say they will "boost funding for ongoing services for more than 900 households in the Housing First programme in Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Wellington and Lower Hutt", costing $20.5m, and expand Housing First to 550 homes in other regions to a cost of $42.9m. 

Most read story: 'Not if but when' - Alpine Fault preparations continue for when the big one hits South Island

Note: This story was first published on Thursday May 17

Project AF8 - the South Island-wide efforts towards preparing for a powerful earthquake along the Alpine Fault - has released a series of new videos as it marks two years of preparation.

The project has now also completed its draft South Island Alpine Fault Earthquake Response (SAFER) framework, which puts into place procedures for when the enormous fault ruptures.

According to AF8 steering group chair Angus McKay, carbon dating shows the Alpine Fault last ruptured around 1717, and it was expected to rupture about every 300 years - meaning it is now due.

When it does rupture, the earthquake is expected to be magnitude 8 or above, which is likely to affect almost all of the South Island badly.

"Some of New Zealand's best scientific minds from universities, Crown Research Institutes and GNS Science have worked together to produce a credible scenario for what will happen with the next major earthquake on the Alpine Fault," Mr McKay said.

"We have used that scenario to work with our partners to identify the foreseeable impacts on communities and critical infrastructure across the South Island."

The videos give first-hand accounts of the impacts of the Canterbury Earthquakes, as well as insight into how Civil Defence actually responds to - or plans to respond to - such large events.

One of the major pushes from the group is for people to be prepared themselves, including keeping up-to-date emergency kits, having plans in place, and designing their homes and businesses to be resilient.

Finalised frameworks for the response to such an event will begin being implemented from July 1, and the framework will also be posted at projectAF8.co.nz.



Watch: TVNZ reporter's 'a little bit awkward' mock rescue during Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust's annual appeal

TVNZ1 Breakfast reporter Emily van Velthooven has been winched up by one of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust's team to highlight the vital work they do during their annual appeal month.

The Breakfast reporter staged a mock rescue with Rusty, one of the team from Westpac Rescue Helicopter, in a harness.

After quizzing Rusty about the techniques and equipment he uses on rescues, van Velthooven said: "Well, Rusty and I are going to hang out for a while."

"But in all seriousness, it's a great appeal, these guys are absolutely crucial in the medical field and if you'd like to donate you can text your postcode to 2449 to donate $3," she continued as she spun around awkwardly.

Van Velthooven's cross had her Breakfast colleagues back in the Auckland studio muffling laughter while congratulating her.

"I'm sorry, but honestly Emily, well done, holding your composure there amongst that interview," Hayley Holt said.

"It looks a little bit awkward," she concluded.

"It looks like you're having a lot of fun there," Jack Tame quipped as a sign off. 

Breakfast’s Emily van Velthooven was winched up by one of the team to highlight the vital work they do. Source: 1 NEWS