Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.Launch Radio player
Key points from today's budget:
* The Government commits $4.8 billion in 2008/09, rising to $7b in 2011/12 in operating spending and revenue initiatives and $1.9b in new capital spending between 2008/09 and 2011/12;
* Operating balance expected to decline over the forecast period from 4.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007 to 1.3 percent of GDP in 2011/12, reflecting the impact of policy initiatives and the weakening economy;
* Growth to March 2009 expected to bottom out at 1.5 percent before going to 2.3 percent in 2010 and 3.2 percent in 2011;
* A three-year programme of personal tax cuts, starting from October 1 this year, costing $10.6b. Once fully implemented, individuals working full time will get tax cuts of between $22 to $55 a week.
* New Zealand Superannuation maintained at 66 percent of the net average wage and the tax cuts to add $45.88 for a married couple and $23.84 for a single superannuitant living alone to the pension.
* Inflation adjustments to Working for Families entitlements to be brought forward from April 1 next year to October 1 this year;
* Some $3b over four years, $750 million per year, for health services. This includes an inflationary adjustment of $2b to district health boards to cover the increased costs for goods and services and population increases;
* $325m in the budget, as part of more than $500m, to improve high speed broadband in urban areas and extend its reach into regions;
* $1.8b over five years -- $619m in budget 2008 -- for teachers' wage settlements. Plus money ($182m in operational funding and $33.5m in capital funding) over four years to fund an extra 762 teachers to reduce class sizes for new entrants to one teacher per 15 students;
* $690m for the buy-back of Toll -- the previously announced $665m purchase price plus $25m to cover the costs of lease arrangements and staff secondments;
* $180m in operating funding and $9.5m in capital funding for the third and final tranche (332 sworn staff and 90 non-sworn staff) of the 1000 extra cops and 250 non-sworn police promised at the last election.
* The budget also put a figure on the New Zealand First-gained free off-peak travel for Supergold Card holders -- $72m over four years.