Last week, we announced our Budget for the coming year – and beyond.
We’re setting a course for the future – and we want you to know exactly what this future will look like. However, amid all the fanfare, media coverage, and political jargon, it can be hard to know how to make sense of it all!
We get it – that’s why we’ve broken down the most significant things to come out of this year’s Budget, and just what these things mean for you.
Rebuilding our critical public services
Health is a major component of this Budget. Quality care is something all Kiwis expect and deserve – and something that has been significantly underfunded for the past decade.
- We are introducing free GP visits for under 14 year olds, and lowering the cost of GP visits for Community Service Card holders and low-income families.
- We are getting our district health boards (DHBs) back on track and investing in core services such as maternity services, disability support, air ambulances and bowel screening.
It’s no surprise that our schools are a major focus of this Government. Kiwi kids are the future of this country, and their schools are in desperate need of help.
- We’re meeting increasing demand for early childhood education, with the first universal funding boost in ten years.
- We’re bringing in 1,500 more teachers and hundreds of new classrooms.
- For children in poverty, we’re extending the provision of clothing to support more Kiwi kids, and continuing to fund KidsCan and KickStart programmes – so everyone can get the best start in life.
We believe in supporting safe and stable communities – and that starts with an effective justice system.
- We’re increasing police numbers, working towards our goal of an additional 1,800 officers on the beat.
- We’re providing funding to manage prisoners both in prisons and those on community-based sentences, including further funding for community housing.
- We’re expanding and strengthening family violence services, and including 17-year olds in the youth justice system to provide them with the support they need.
Investing in key infrastructure
Everyone deserves a warm, dry, and safe place to live.
- We are building 6,400 more state and community houses, and offering insulation and heating grants for low-income households. Our KiwiBuild programme will deliver 100,000 affordable houses over the next ten years.
- We’ve introduced a Winter Energy Payment to help older New Zealanders with heating costs through the colder months, and we’re providing insulation and heating grants for low income households.
- We are providing $101 million to house the homeless – so we all have a place to call home.
- We’re also providing funds to implement the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act.
Practical and forward-thinking transport solutions in both urban and regional New Zealand have been hugely neglected over the last nine years. We are committed to putting this underfunding right and getting Kiwis moving.
- We’re investing in KiwiRail to help develop a modern, future-focused rail network, alongside further support for the Auckland City Rail Link.
- You will see increased investment in regional roads, rail, cycling, and road safety.
- We’re providing more support for critical roading and water infrastructure, which will help boost housing supply.
Promoting economic development
Innovation is critical to growing and maintaining a productive economy. We are playing our part to generate prosperity, ensure sustainable economic development, and future-proof our economy.
- We’re creating more jobs, growing New Zealand’s economy, and boosting the average wage – all while reducing Government debt to below 20% of GDP.
- We are investing in a Research and Development tax incentive to encourage businesses to innovate, and improving New Zealand’s investments in science.
- We’re improving our international relations, building trade and policy capacity and boosting our presence overseas, as well as doing our part in global issues such as climate change – particularly in the Pacific.
- We are properly funding employment and immigration services across the board, including funding an additional 800 places for the Limited Service Volunteer programme for unemployed 18 to 25-year olds.
A strong New Zealand can’t exist without strong regions. It’s up to us to make sure our regions continue to grow and develop into the future.
- The Provincial Growth Fund is continuing to spur massive development, including creating jobs, addressing infrastructure deficits, diversifying the economy, and enhancing tourism, in areas like Northland, Taranaki, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, and Whanganui.
- We’re providing an Acceleration Fund for critical projects in Canterbury, so we can see faster progress on the residential red zone and a multi-use arena.
- We are committing support to the regions across various sectors, including forestry, tourism, energy, and infrastructure.
- We are continuing to support our One Billion Trees, ensuring a cost-effective and integrated approach across the native tree planting programme.
Protecting natural resources and cultural identity
New Zealand is proud of its clean, green image, but after years of neglect, our reality falls short. We want to change this – we are investing in the protection of our native wildlife, plants, and landscapes, and taking decisive action on climate change.
- We are eradicating predators and protecting Aotearoa’s natural biodiversity through strengthening the Department of Conservation and biosecurity funding.
- We are tackling climate change by establishing the Green Investment Fund, which will stimulate investment in low-carbon industries and clean technology.
As part of the ‘enriching New Zealand’s culture and identity’ package, we recognise the importance of strengthening our identity as a nation, which includes investment in Māori development.
- The new Crown Māori relations portfolio will give us the space and support to develop key projects, including programmes for improving outcomes for rangatahi who are not in education, employment, or training.
- We’re looking at different ways to address Māori freehold land issues, and we’re making sure Māori housing providers have everything they need to support papakāinga development and repair.
- Supporting Māori students to succeed as Māori and investing to deliver te reo Māori in schools to lift the achievement of our tamariki and rangatahi.
Kiwi creativity, both at home and overseas, is something that should be recognised, celebrated, and properly supported.
- Our history, culture, and identity deserves to be celebrated, and we are doing just that with initiatives like the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage and Armistice Day commemorations.
- We’re significantly boosting the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's funding for the first time in a decade and supporting New Zealand musicians to take our music overseas.
After nine years of neglect, we are rebuilding a New Zealand we can be proud of.
It’s been called the bread-and-butter Budget - we’ve forgone ‘flashy’ announcements or surprises to focus on what’s important – quality public services, effective infrastructure, and a productive, stable economy.
We know that change won’t happen all at once. Transformation takes time.
That’s why we have built a proper plan not only for the next year, or three years – but for the next thirty, and beyond.
This Budget lays the foundations for all Kiwis to have happier, healthier lives for years to come. Budget 2018: the foundations for our future. More information is available at budget.govt.nz