Budget 2018 to set out plan to future-proof NZ economy

Budget 2018 will set out the Coalition Government’s plan to transform the economy and rebuild our neglected public services so that we can improve the living standards of all New Zealanders, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said today.

“We came into Government with different priorities and a plan to address the social and infrastructure deficits which built up as a result of nine years of underfunding and poorly targeted policies,” Grant Robertson said in a speech to an Auckland business audience on Tuesday morning.

“We made a strong start to ensuring a fairer New Zealand with the 100 Day Plan and our December mini-Budget, which reversed tax cuts so that we could focus on those who needed support the most.

“Budget 2018 will build on this with investments to rebuild the foundations of our critical public services so that New Zealanders receive the healthcare, education, housing and support for their communities that they expect and deserve.

“This Budget is the first step. It will take more than one Budget to fix nine years of neglect. New Zealanders will see on Budget Day – 17 May – how this plan is set out.

“They will also see that through our careful fiscal management, we are able to fund our plan,” Grant Robertson said.

“We are meeting the Budget Responsibility Rules. That means Budget 2018 will deliver a surplus, and surpluses in subsequent years. We owe it to future generations to be fiscally responsible, given the risks New Zealand faces in terms of natural disasters and global economic shocks.

“Since coming into Government we have also been careful to ensure that all Government spending and investments fit with our plan. This is why I asked Ministers to review their budgets for policies which do not fit with our priorities. Within five months we have been able to reprioritise nearly $700 million of spending over the next four years.

“We also made it clear before the election that we will crack down on tax dodgers, extend the bright-line test and end negative gearing for property investors. We are also finalising work started by the previous government to ensure foreign and multi-national companies pay their fair share of tax in New Zealand.

“As a result of these changes to make our tax system fairer, and our initial reprioritisation drive, we have freed up about $1.4 billion of funding over the next four years which will be re-invested in this Government’s priorities.

“Budget 2018 begins a transformation that must happen if we are to deliver to New Zealanders an improved quality of life for decades to come.

“Our plan will ensure we transition to an economy that is more productive, more sustainable, and more inclusive, and which is focussed on improving the living standards and wellbeing of all New Zealanders now, and into the future,” Grant Robertson said.