Scoop Coverage of Budget Day 2013
by The Scoop
May 16, 2013
Finance Minister Bill English
As always and especially after the managerial mishaps of the past few weeks and months, (e.g. Aaron Gilmore, the Mighty River Power share float, the GCSB mishaps) Budget Day 2013 was always going to be a pageant of reassurance. A promise that austerity would be rewarded. To that end, Finance Minister Bill English played his usual role as the steady hand at the tiller. Budget 2013/14 provided the first glimmerings of hope for better times to come, and which will be trumpeted in election year 2014. Despite the fact that most of the limited amount of new spending had been foreshadowed (if not entirely pre-announced) a few new measures were unveiled today. Among the features of English's fifth Budget:
• By a process of energetic juggling, the long promised surplus is still on track for 2014/2015, although only by a wafer thin $75 million
• Meridian will be the next state asset on the auction block, in the latter part of the year
• A $100 million a year internationally-focussed growth and innovation package will increase funding for business R&D, scientific research etc. This will include $75.2 million for business R&D grants and $31.4 million for repayable grants to small business start-ups (the criteria will be forthcoming in mid June) An extra $23 million will be shuffled into this growth package from other parts of Vote Science and Innovation. The sum total for new funding in science, innovation and research will be $200 million over the next four years.
• Of the $1.7 billion earned from the Mighty River Power share float, over $900 million will be going towards various aspects of the Christchurch rebuild, and a further $80 million to irrigation projects in Canterbury.
• The government will resume its contributions to Government Superannuation when the Crown debt is only 20% of GDP, an outcome expected in 2020
• The current account deficit is forecast to still be 6.5% of GDP by the end of the forecast period. Unemployment will remain 0ver 5% for the fo9recast period.
• The role of community providers in the provision of social housing will increase
These and other aspects of the government's Budget 2013 can be found in the following video and sound recordings of the Budget lockup presentation by Finance Minister Bill English and the subsequent q&a.
Vernon Small, Stuff.co.nz
Keith Ng, Public Address
Jessica Mutch and Corrin Dann, TVNZ
Patrick Gower, 3 News