Ardern puts billions into health and housing
New Zealand’s Labour Government has delivered a run of fiscal surpluses on top of multibillion-dollar spending surprises for health, education and housing in its first Budget under Jacinda Ardern.
“I want my child to look back on the history books and judge me and this Government favourably,” the pregnant prime minister told Parliament yesterday.
“If we’re not here for kids or the future of the country they live in, why are we here? If our Budget isn’t about people, what is it for? On both accounts this government is happy to be judged.”
After plenty of goodies in December’s half-year mini-Budget and announcements in past months, the coalition Labour-led government had been playing down the odds of another splurge.
But it pointed to the need to rebuild after what it described as nine years of underfunding of schools and hospitals under the previous centre-right National government.
Yesterday’s Budget — the first from a Labour-led government in a decade — led with a $NZ3.2 billion boost to health-operating funding over four years and $NZ1.6 billion for schools. Housing attracted $NZ1 billion to build 6400 state houses.
Jacinda Ardern yesterday.