'A plan for transformation' - Grant Robertson says Budget lays foundations for Kiwis to have better lives

This starts with making sure Kiwis have access to high quality public services, says the Finance Minister while delivering the Labour-led Government's first Budget. Source: 1 NEWS



Budget 2018: Health, housing and education the big winners

The 2018 Budget has promised to be one based on health, education, and housing with few surprises.

Labelled, 'Foundations for the Future', Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Budget 2018 would pump funding into the critical public services, giving them "serious overdue investments".

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

"We cannot fix all the problems we face in one Budget," Mr Robertson said today in Wellington.

"Budget 2018 makes responsible investments for the future while delivering a surplus of more than $3 billion and taking a responsible approach to debt reduction."

Health

The health sector was allocated an additional $3.2 billion boost over the next four years, with an extra $850 million in new capital, which includes $750 million to "tackle" urgent building issues in hospitals.

As per the coalition agreement with New Zealand First, free doctors visits have been extended to those under 14.

Mr Robertson said this would mean 56,000 children would be covered under the new policy.

Budget 2018 also includes an extension of "very low" GP visits to Community Service card holders, and allocates the card to all Housing NZ tenants, Kiwis who receive an accommodation supplement or other rent subsidies based on income.

"This will make going to the GP cheaper by up to $30 for 540,000 people eligible for the Community Services Card." 

It comes amid criticism of the Labour Party's failure to meet its election promise to implement cheaper GP visits for all New Zealanders by July 1.

Minister of Health David Clark previously told TVNZ1's Q+A this would need to be "phased" in due to issues such as infrastructure requirements of hospitals.

Extra funding also goes to elective surgery, maternity services, air ambulances and the National Bowel Screening Programme.

Education

The government has increased operating funds for education by $1.6 billion to increase teacher numbers by 1,500 and to increase teacher-aide funding.

The boost is set to address the strain put on the education sector due to population increases.

Capital funding has also risen in order to build new schools and classrooms.

Early childhood has increased by $590.2 million, and $284m has gone to Learning Support, intending to "allow every child with special education needs and learning difficulties to better participate in school life".

Housing

Housing was allocated $634 million in operating funds to increase housing by 6,000 homes over the next four years, to provide more transitional housing "and help for the homeless and offer grants for insulation and heating".

KiwiBuild was previously given $2.1 billion in the government's mini-Budget.

In a pre-Budget announcement, $100 million was given to tackling homelessness.

Business 

$100 million has been put into a Green Investment Fund "to help our economy's transition".


Budget 2018 also puts $1 billion into business innovation, through a research and development incentive, and Mr Robertson said the $1b per year Provincial Growth Fund would support and grow regions.

Grant Robertson showed off the front page to journalists in Wellington.
Source: 1 NEWS

 

Grant Robertson showed off the front page to journalists in Wellington.
Source: 1 NEWS

This starts with making sure Kiwis have access to high quality public services, says the Finance Minister while delivering the Labour-led Government's first Budget. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Budget 2018: Five things you need to know about where the Government is spending your cash

Today the government opened up its books, and revealed what it will spend its money on.

The Budget happens once a year, and forecasts spending over the next four years. 

Here are five big reveals from today's Budget:

1. Rebuilding critical public services

Health - $3.2 billion to operating and $850 million

Education - $1.6 billion operating, $334 million capital

Justice - $1 billion operating, $216 million capital

Supporting at-risk families - $460 million operating, $17 million capital

2. Economic development and the regions

$2.8 billion into the promotion of "economic development and supporting the regions package".

3. Child poverty, housing, and homelessness

$813m is going to operations and $369m to capital to address issues such as target "chronic homelessness" and to allocate grants for low-income houses to get insulation for eligible homes.

4. Natural resources

$649m will go to biodiversity, forestry and conservation, and also to climate change, biosecurity and environmental protection.

5. Culture

The government has put in $534m to "enriching New Zealand's culture and identity". It will go to crown-Maori relations and Maori development, NZ arts, culture and heritage, and to defence and internal affairs ($386m for operating funds and $40m capital).
  

Source: 1 NEWS