Helping Regions Achieve Our Potential

Columns
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy we need all our regions achieving their potential.

Budget 2015 has a number of initiatives to support the regions.

We’re investing $25 million over three years for new Regional Research Institutes to support innovation in the regions. And there’s an $80 million boost over four years to R&D growth grants to support innovative Kiwi businesses around New Zealand carrying out research and development.

There is $244 million to build seven new schools, expand four existing schools, and add another 241 classrooms across the country.

Investment to boost world-class internet connectivity includes a $100 million to bring fast, reliable broadband to more regions and a $50 million fund to extend mobile coverage in black spot areas such as along main highways and in popular tourist destinations.

ACC is on track to provide further levy cuts of $500 million, bringing total annual savings since 2012 for businesses, workers, vehicle owners, and families to $2 billion. The average ACC motor vehicle levy will fall from around $330 to $195 from next month with a further drop to $120 from 2016.

There is support for housing in the regions with 90,000 people set to benefit from the new KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme – the most generous support package in a generation to help first-home buyers.

Budget 2015 continues our programme of helping families with a $790 million package to support children living in some of New Zealand’s poorest families. This includes children living in beneficiary and low-income households in the regions. And from 1 July all children under 13 will have access to free GP visits and free prescriptions.

These and other initiatives are a continuation of our strong programme to build a brighter future across regional New Zealand.