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Beehive Bulletin – 7 May 2005

Beehive Bulletin – 7 May 2005

Massive boost to defence spending

A new era of structured defence funding has been ushered in with the government's announcement of a $4.6 billion 10-year defence package. By the end of the 10-year funding package, this government will have increased New Zealand Defence Force operational baseline funding by 51 per cent since taking office in 1999. This will result in modernisation of equipment across all three services and increases of many hundreds of military personnel. This latest initiative would ensure that our defence force has the capacity to meet New Zealand's defence requirements into the futu

More cataract operations

The government is increasing cataract operations by 50 per cent. An extra $17 million is being spent over the next three years in providing up to 7500 more cataracts operations. Funding will be phased in over three years as capacity is increased to perform the extra operations.

The cataract initiative is a logical follow-up to the orthopaedics initiative we announced in last year's budget. Both initiatives are designed to dramatically improve the quality of life for thousands more older New Zealanders and illustrate this government's commitment to building a fair and inclusive society."

Polluter pays better for environment and economy

More details the carbon tax policy government announced in 2002 have been released. This government takes climate change seriously. That is why New Zealand, along with 149 other countries, is acting responsibly and has made a start on limiting the impact of this global problem through ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The carbon tax will start in April 2007, and be set at $15 per tonne of carbon dioxide or equivalent.

The tax will apply across the economy except agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions. This is a shift, not an increase, in overall taxation. The carbon tax is about tackling climate change, not raising revenue for the government.

$4.45 million for carbon tax mitigation

The government also announced the scale of the pilot grants, training and education package to help energy intensive small and medium size enterprises take up energy saving technologies to offset the impact of the carbon tax. $4.45 million will be made available for the pilot programme over the next three years.

More money for cleaner drinking water

A government fund of $136.9 million is being set up to help improve drinking water systems in New Zealand communities, (GST exclusive.) Waterborne disease is estimated to cost the New Zealand economy about $15 million a year.

This is why the government is establishing a Drinking Water Subsidy Fund to provide funding to councils and other water suppliers for upgrading water systems. This funding would otherwise have come from rates or water charges, and particularly help rural communities.

The new fund will set aside an average $13.7 million (exclusive of GST) a year for ten years. This money is the third in a trilogy of funds totalling $276.4 million established by the government to ease the burden of basic infrastructure demands on New Zealand communities and ratepayers.


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