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TV1 6pm News Headlines (First Segment)

Budget Announced - Budget Areas - Budget Figures - Business Reaction - Business Confidence – Poor & Unemployed Kiwis

BUDGET ANNOUNCED: Today’s budget has been announced by Finance Minister Michael Cullen, the first Labour government budget in 10 years. However businesses are not impressed by the government’s moves.

BUDGET AREAS: Employment, housing, health and Maori are all areas the Government has earmarked for heavy spending. There is a total of $1.2 billion in spending pledges mainly aimed at the voters who voted the government programme. Regional development funding has also been announced – the question is how Jim Anderton will translate this extra money for jobs.

BUDGET FIGURES: This years budget does spread much of the Government’s money over the next four years, making it difficult for journalists to work out the figures when they first saw them in the lock-up earlier today.

BUSINESS REACTION: Businesses have reacted mainly negatively to the budget which has allocated $21 million a year for research and development and internet. Some young innovative companies have applauded the changes, but others want tax breaks, not grants, for businesses – a move that the Government says would encourage tax avoidance.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE: A low business confidence is still effecting industry which is leading to deferred contracts. The Manufacturers Association president says the moves to help businesses were not as high as expected as the Government was “talking up” the package more than it delivered.

POOR & UNEMPLOYED KIWIS: Seventy million dollars has been given to help employment initiatives, give-up smoking programmes have 20 million and education costs have been stabilized. The biggest boon is the decision to reduce state house rents for low income New Zealanders. Public health is also given a boost with a large amount of extra funding.

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