How do you rate Steven Joyce's first Budget?
Family Income Package:
The government has allocated $2 billion a year for a family package which includes increasing tax thresholds and scrapping the Independent Earning tax credit. Students receiving an allowance from the government will get up to an extra $20 a week for accommodation benefits.
What this means:
Working for Families Family Tax Credits will rise by $9.25 a week for a first child under 16, and between $17.75 and $26.81 for other children. But payments will abate earlier and more quickly.
Adjustments to income tax thresholds will deliver $11 a week for workers on more than $22,000 and at least $20 more for those earning more than $52,000.
Some $7 billion has been allocated over the next four years to “sustain and expand” public services, including $3.9 billion for the health sector, $1.76 billion of that for district health boards. Education receives $1.1 billion and law and order initiatives will get an extra $1.2 billion.
Infrastructure initiatives have been allocated $4 billion in new capital spending in the budget. SH1 – north and south of Kaikoura gets $812 million and $450 million has been made available for rail infrastructure and rolling stock for KiwiRail’s freight business.
Business Growth Agenda:
Some $372.8 for the second round of the government’s Innovative NZ programme has been made available over the next four years, including $203 million for science and innovation and $132.1 for tertiary education, skills and employment.
The government’s outlook for the economy is rosy, picking GDP growth to average 3.1% over the next five years and peaking at 3.8% in 2019. It is also forecasting unemployment will fall to 4.3% by 2020, with net debt expected to fall to just over 19% by 2020/2022.
The budget includes $93 million over four years for Maori development, with $10 million for Whanau Ora support across New Zealand and $21 million for Maori language initiatives.
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