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BUDGET 2001: Towards a stronger economy, society

Rt Hon Helen Clark

Prime Minister

24 May 2001

Budget 2001: Towards a stronger economy and society

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that Budget 2001 was another important step in the building of a stronger economy and society.

"The Labour-Alliance Government is committed to leading economic and social transformation, and that is why policies aimed at creating greater prosperity are our highest priority.

"Today's budget gives momentum to our programme by boosting funding for venture capital provision, skills training, research, business support programmes and other growth and partnership strategies.

"Our future as a nation is going to be driven by educated people, and a dynamic and enterprising small business sector, and Budget 2001 reflects that reality.

"It also reflects a need for government to be smarter and more active if we are going to get the best economic results for New Zealand.

"But while making the investments necessary to modernise and transform the economy, the Government is mindful of the need to be a responsible fiscal manager.

"In that respect today's budget comes up trumps.

"A strong surplus, a positive fiscal outlook and a fall in expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product mean we are meeting the highest standards of fiscal management.

"The Government's second budget also recognises that there are still pressing social problems to be addressed.

"We are putting more money into key areas like health, education, and Child, Youth and Family Services, and capacity building programmes in Maori and Pacific Island communities.

"By doing so the government is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to programmes that will help ensure opportunity and security for all New Zealanders.

"I lead a government that takes pride in keeping its word on the core pledges it made and in restoring a sense of balance to the community.

"The initiatives we are announcing today will help build a nation which is confident, progressive, more prosperous, and which cares for its people," Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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