A Plan That’s Working And Helping Families

Columns
Friday, May 22, 2015

National’s seventh Budget sets out the next steps in our economic programme and demonstrates National’s continuing focus on helping families.

Budget 2015 forecasts a return to surplus next year and increasing surpluses in subsequent years. It includes a $790 million package of measures aimed at reducing hardship among children living in some of New Zealand’s poorest families.

The Budget also confirms New Zealand has a strong, growing economy – we’re on track for average growth of 2.8 per cent a year over the next four years – and provides further evidence the Government’s programme is on the right track.

Our strong economy is forecast to deliver another 150,000 new jobs over the next four years, on top of the 194,000 new jobs created since the start of 2011.

Average wages, which have increased by 15 per cent over the past five years, are also forecast to continue rising faster than inflation. The average wage is expected to rise to $63,000 in the next four years.

Through Budget 2015, National will invest $790 million over the next four years in measures aimed at helping children living in hardship. This package includes greater work obligations for parents on a benefit; more childcare support for low-income families to help parents get into work, education, or training; A $25 weekly increase in benefits for families with children; and an increase in Working for Families payments to low-income families of $12.50 a week in most cases.

We’re supporting health and education with $2.4 billion investment over four years.

We’re making good progress in responsibly managing the Government’s books and are on track to a $176 million surplus next year, which will increase in future years.

Government debt is expected to be less than 20 per cent of GDP by 2020/21 when we can resume contributions to the NZ Super Fund.

The Budget invests more in the drivers of economic development, including 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.

And we’re allowing for significant ACC levy reductions, and strengthening tax rules on property investment.

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