Budget 2018 in 10 bullet points

Middlemore Hospital was at the centre of controversy over National's funding of district health boards.

Coalition Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s first budget contained no major surprises.

The key points:

• The Treasury is forecasting a budget surplus of $3.1billion in the financial year ending June 30, $3.7b next year and rising to an estimated $7.3b by 2022;

• Net core Crown debt projected to peak at $67.6b in 2021 (which will be 19.1% of GDP if growth forecasts are hit) from $59 billion (20.8% of GDP) today;

• R&D tax break of 12.5% confirmed from April 1, 2019 (no decision on Callaghan Innovation yet, but the govt has indicated it will gut the agency's Growth Grants as a quid pro quo);

• Revenue: The coaliton says it will net an extra $726.3m over the next four years through cracking down on tax dodgers (for which IRD gets a $31m top-up), ring-fencing rental losses and collecting GST from offshore suppliers;

• Health: Extra $3.2b for health over four years, including $750 for hospital rebuilds & upgrades. GP visits free for everyone under 14 (previous cutoff was 13);

• Education: Extra $1.6b for eduation next four years, with early childhood education getting a $590m boost

• Housing: Another $1b in new spending to fund 6400 more state houses by 2022; comes on top of the $2.1b allocated in the December mini-budget for the KiwiBuild programme to build 100,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years. Treasury now sees a slower Kiwibuild spend - 2019 estimate lowered from $900m to $300m.

• Regions: $1b Provincial Growth Fund confirmed; The One Billion Trees programme received $13.5 million in operational funding for the next four years;

• Police: $298.8m over four years to fund 920 new frontline roles and 240 support staff [enough to meet new officer target?]. The coalition had promised 1800 new cops within three years;

• An extra $300m for Canterbury quake relief; and

• $152m extra for NZ on Air & RNZ over four years. Decision delayed on how the money will be divvied up. $15m allocated to working group in meantime.

RAW DATA (with a dash of spin):

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The Crown owns 100's of acres of red zone land in Christchurch, I see no plans to do ground improvement and on sell some of this land. The ground improvement technology is available and the infrastructure is in place even though in some cases it will need repairing. Why have urban sprawl onto productive land when this land is close to the city and it is more energy efficient to drive shorter distances.
We can still have a green corridor and a world-class rowing facility with some good planning

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