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May 28, 2018 | by  | in Politics | [ssba]

Political Round-up

Budget 2018 – Grant Robertson

The first Budget of the Labour-NZ First Government was delivered on 17 May by Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

The Budget this year had a broad focus on promoting a strong economy, and on practical and informed decision-making made by the Government for New Zealanders. Treasury predicted a forecast surplus of over $3.7 billion dollars for the 2018/19 financial year, which is up $600 million from last year.

Robertson stated this outlook from the Treasury shows that Government is managing its expenditure very carefully, with extra money set aside for public services and to pay various debts. “Our plan will ensure productive, sustainable, and inclusive growth. Our job as a responsible Government is to look 30 years ahead – not just three. We are planning for what New Zealanders will need,” said Robertson.

A brief list of forecasts made by Treasury are as follows:

“Economic growth is expected to average about 3 per cent per year over the next five years.

The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4.1 per cent, which would be the lowest rate in 10 years. Real wages are expected to grow each year, with average annual earnings rising to $71,000 by June 2022.

Inflation is expected to remain steady and stable at around 2 per cent.”

David Clark on Fixing the Health System

Neglected hospitals and the healthcare system are getting major boosts as a result of the 2018 Budget.

Health Minister David Clark has said that the Government is committed to an overhaul of the healthcare system in New Zealand, and as a result has allotted $750 million to fix DHB infrastructure around the country. In addition to this, another $100 million will be going towards DHB balance sheets, which will boost executives’ confidence in successful planning and desired investments.

National Spokesperson for Health Michael Woodhouse has hit back at this allocation of spending by Labour, saying that Labour is putting considerably less money into the health sector than what National had done during their time in Government.

“It beggars belief that Labour set expectations so high for this Budget and not only have they not delivered on their promises, but they are delivering less than National would have if we were in Government.”

Dr Clark challenged this, saying that DHBs have been “starved of funding in recent years,” and are forecast to receive over two billion dollars of operational funding.

More to Help Sexual Assault Survivors

People who have experienced sexual assault and violence are getting increased funding for ACC abuse assessment and treatment as a result of the 2018 Budget.

Minister for ACC Iain Lees-Galloway, and Under-Secretary on Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues Jan Logie, have initiated a nationwide programme to target sexual and family violence. It was announced in the Budget that $7.5 million would be allocated to sexual assault services, funded by three different Government ministries. The new and improved services would deliver targeted medical treatment, forensic services, and referrals.

Both Lees-Galloway and Logie has expressed confidence in this initiative, and said that the ministries will continue their work in supporting these victims and their efforts to prevent sexual violence in New Zealand.

“I’m pleased that these crucial services are receiving the first significant funding increase from central government since 2008. It has been long overdue,” said Logie.

Logie’s portfolio as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues holds the first dedicated role to sexual violence reparation in NZ Parliament’s history.



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