Labour delivers on election promises in mini-budget and keeps books in the black, although there is limited wriggle room

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has stuck to his promise and delivered a mini-budget today that shows his government's election and coalition promises can be afforded, whilst keeping the books in the black.

Although the government will not have huge amounts of spare cash in future to deal with any cost surprises.

Treasury has confirmed the Labour-led Government's promises and coalition commitments can be met. Source: 1 NEWS

In its Half Year Fiscal Economic Update, Treasury is forecasting a budget surplus of $2.5 billion in 2018 and $2.8 billion in 2019.

Those surpluses are down slightly on what was forecast prior to the election.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered his mini-budget outlining a families package to lift 88,000 children out of poverty. Source: 1 NEWS

However stronger economic growth in future years will see the surplus rise to $8.8 billon by 2021/22.

Government debt levels are also expected to rise more than was being forecast prior to the election, however they will then dip below 20 per cent of GDP by 2020, which is the self imposed target set by Grant Robertson prior to the election.

The forecast surplus and debt track today produced by Treasury fully includes the cost of policies in the 100 day plan such the $5.5 billion Families package.

At the heart of the Government's mini-budget is a families package, to replace National's $2 billion tax cuts. Source: 1 NEWS

Most of the money for that package - which is spread over five years - comes from canceling National's $8 billion tax cuts.

Meanwhile the government has allocated a further $21.7 billion of new expenditure over the next four budgets, with a $2.6 billion operating allowance for next year's budget.

$6.6 billion has at this stage been left unallocated from that $21.7 billion. Which is not a huge amount of wriggle room - should new costs pressures arise.

This money will most likely be needed for things like wage claims from police or nurses.

1 NEWS political editor forecast what the government’s mini-budget will contain today. Source: Breakfast

Spending on capital items (bridges, schools etc) will be set at around $12 billion over the next four years. $3.4 billion for 2018 and 2019.

Meanwhile Treasury has estimated that cost of polices in the coalition agreement will be $419 million, although some of the coalition promises will be funded from within money already set aside for health and education spending.

The coalition agreement will also see an extra $3.7 billion of capital spending – most of this will be the $1 billion a year regional development fund.

Helping drive the surpluses forecast today is economic growth which is expected to average around 2.9 per cent over the next four years, with unemployment to drop to 4 per cent.

Wages are also expected tick up towards 3 per cent.

The Finance Minister said meeting the Government's 100 days fiscal plan impacts was largely paid for by repealing National's tax cuts. Source: 1 NEWS



Rubbish collector killed after falling from truck and being struck by vehicle in Waikato

A rubbish collector has been killed after falling from their truck and being run-over by a vehicle in Tuakau, Waikato.

Police say they were called to the incident on Alexandra and Redoubt Rd around 12:30pm today.

They say it appears at this initial stage that the rubbish collector fell from a rubbish collection truck before being hit by a vehicle.

Waikato District Council said in a statement that there will be significant disruption to the rubbish and recycling collection tomorrow in the northern area of the district due to today’s accident.

The district council says people serviced by the collection should still put out their rubbish and recycling tomorrow. Normal services will resume from next week.

The council says its thoughts are with the friends, family and colleagues of the victim.

The Serious Crash Unit is in attendance and WorkSafe NZ has been notified. 

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

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Watch: 'Incredibly proud' – Jacinda Ardern lays out details of Families Package, goal to halve child poverty

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid out the details of the Government's new Families Package, saying she is "incredibly proud" of what they have achieved.

The PM says around 380,000 families will receive over $70 a week more to help raise their kids. Source: 1 NEWS

She said the new package will help cut child poverty in New Zealand by nearly half.

Speaking at the Manukau Salvation Army in Auckland this afternoon, Ms Ardern was upbeat while introducing the details of the Families Package.

"We will fulfill our promise to be a coalition Government focused on the well-being of New Zealanders," she said. 

"This is a budget that will mean over 380,000 families will on average get over $70 a week more to support them as they raise their kids."

The Prime Minister also laid out ambitious targets when it comes to tackling child poverty, saying the package will reduce it by 48 per cent, raising an estimated 88,000 children out of poverty.

When asked by media about the cost of the Families Package Ms Ardern claimed it would cost less than the tax cuts which were to be put in place by the previous National Government.

"This will be achieved by not giving top tax earners like myself a cut," she said.

Ms Ardern says the new package hopes to address inequality in New Zealand and make it a great place to raise a family.