Robertson sets budget date

The amount set aside for the government budget is higher than previous years.

Budget 2018 will be delivered on May 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

In a statement, he says it will build on the mini-Budget package of measures introduced before Christmas, which cancelled the previous government's April 1 tax cuts in favour of a more generous package of measures for lower income households that will take effect from July 1.

The December 2018 Budget Policy Statement outlined that the budget would have an operating allowance of $2.6 billion per year, larger than the previous government's operating allowance of $1.7 billion. The capital allowance will be $3.4 billion, up $1.4 billion on National's capital allowance in the previous year. Mr Roberston says the extra spend will go on public infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and public transport.

“While making these investments, we will remain responsible fiscal managers, with the government’s Budget Responsibility Rules ensuring net debt falls to 20% of GDP within five years of taking office, expenditure is controlled, and surpluses are delivered across the economic cycle.

Work is already under way in bringing together the various budget bids from ministers to support the government’s priorities for the next three years, he says.

The 2018 budget will focus on a wide range of priorities: building quality public services and improving access to core services, such as health and education, acting on child poverty and homelessness; supporting families; sustainable economic development; regional support; and tackling environmental challenges such as climate change impacts.

“It became clear during the last years of the previous government that New Zealand’s social and infrastructure deficits had widened to such an extent that inequality was growing and not all New Zealanders were sharing in the benefits of economic growth,” Mr Robertson says.

(Additional reporting BusinessDesk)