Watch as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern congratulates Grant Robertson with massive hug, following Budget delivery

The Government side of their house rose to applaud the Finance Minister after he presented his first Budget today. Source: 1 NEWS



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

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the Labour-led Government's first Budget sets out the first steps in a plan for transformation of our economy, public services and the way we work together to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.

"This is a Government that does things a little bit differently and you can expect our Budgets to look a little different also," Mr Robertson said, as he delivered his first Budget.

"We are committed to being responsible, not just fiscally but socially and environmentally," he said. 

"Budget 2018 lays the foundations for New Zealanders to have better lives in the future. 

"This starts with making sure that all New Zealanders have access to high quality public services that they need and deserve such as health, education and housing," the Finance Minister  told Parliament.

Health, education, housing and other critical public services receive overdue investments today he said in a release.

"Our public services have been underfunded for too long and there has been a failure to appropriately plan for the future. That changes today."

The coalition Government is rebuilding the critical services Kiwis expect their government to provide - modern hospitals, classrooms kids can learn in, public housing for those who need it, efficient transport systems and safe communities, he said.

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

"We are committed to living within our means and having a buffer to deal with the risks and shocks that a small country like New Zealand inevitably faces," the Minister said.

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

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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