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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