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BUDGET: Summary - Maori - Greens - Business Reaction - Political Reaction

Is the budget is it what Dr Cullen says it is. Dr Cullen's longest walk. He says there is something for everyone.... is that right.

BUDGET SUMMARY : Maori are big winners. With 100s of millions aimed at closing the gaps. Health gets more money for mental health and elective surgery. Education gets more money too. Arts, West Coast, Social Services get money. Business could be disappointed. Regional development gets 37 million this year and 230 over three years. Cullen's budget will be approved of by business for its fiscal prudence. The surplus is also forecast to grow strongly over the period of the forecasts. Forecasts are a bit of a mixed bag. Unemployment is forecast to fall. Interest rates are forecast to rise. Business activity is expected to fall a bit due to the fall in business confidence.

BUDGET MAORI: Delivery Day for Maori MPs. Maori and Pis will get $243 million directly over the next three years. Already Maori MPs - John Tamihere Georgina te Heu Heu - are worried that the money won't go where it is needed. Dover Samuels says it is a courageous budget. If you are a Labour MP you are saying it is the best - opposition Maori MPs are saying they are shortchanged. Maori people are saying it sounds great - but they are wondering how much will get tied up in bureacracy.

GREEN BUDGET: The Greens get $15 million for budget initiatives. Jeanette Fitzsimmons says they didn't get the money from threats. Money will go on smoking stop programmes for the poor, energy efficiency and several other things. Rod Donald says they got more in dollar terms than they were expecting. This is ground-breaking and the first time any group outside of government has been given money to spend.

BUSINESS REACTION: Bleak business backdrop. Goodman Fielder decides to close a factory losing 30 jobs in a Gore oats processing plant. A worse than expected Current Account Dollar wiped half a cent off the value of the dollar this morning. Budget has done nothing to restore confidence say business commentators. Manufacturers have welcomed an extra $30 million for R&D. Ratings of 7 and 6 out of ten.

POLITICAL REACTION: An investment in the future says the PM. "I am very happy with the budget," she says. The Alliance is also happy, "there is massive improvement" says Jim Anderton. National says it looks like a lot of "Wellington induced dependency". Sir Roger Douglas says it is "average to below". Winston Peters, "long term bad for the country".


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