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Message From Bill English

Message From Bill English

I’ve just delivered the National-led Government’s seventh Budget in Wellington.

It’s the type of Budget a responsible Government can deliver when it’s following a plan that’s working.

New Zealand’s economy is performing well and we’re on track for an average of 2.8 per cent growth a year over the next four years.

That strong growth is forecast to deliver another 150,000 new jobs over the next four years, which is on top of the 194,000 new jobs that have been created since the start of 2011.

It has also allowed for some new spending in the Budget this year to better support New Zealanders and their families.

A $790 million package of measures aimed at reducing hardship among children living in some of New Zealand’s poorest families is at the heart of the new spending in Budget 2015. It includes greater work obligations on sole parents, and benefit rates for families with children will rise by $25 a week. This strikes a balance between helping families who have fallen behind other households, while ensuring there remains a strong incentive to move from welfare to work.

Other highlights from Budget 2015 include:

• Health continues to be a priority and gets the largest share of new funding in Budget 2015 - $1.7 billion over four years. We’re providing new funding for more elective surgeries, hospice care and extending the bowel cancer screening pilot.

• Education receives a boost, bringing our total investment in education to a record $10.8 billion next year. We’re investing in building new schools and classrooms, more support for early childhood education and special education.

• Further ACC levy cuts of around $500 million are forecast in 2016 and 2017, which means we will have put $2 billion back in New Zealanders’ pockets since 2012. For example, annual motor vehicle registration fees are expected to drop from about $330 to around $120 next year.

• A further $360 million to deliver on our commitment to roll-out world-class internet connectivity for New Zealanders, bringing our total investment to $2 billion.

In order to do all these things while still living within our means, we’ve had to reprioritise some spending. That includes stopping the $1,000 KiwiSaver kick-start, which will save us $500 million. All KiwiSaver members will still receive the member tax credits of up to $521 a year.

I’m proud to have delivered a Budget that looks ahead, and outlines our clear economic plan and how we continue to support families. I encourage you to read more about the Budget hereor if you’re reading this on your phone download the NZ Budget App here.

ENDS

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