EASY LIS­TEN­ING

Grant Robert­son’s first Bud­get turned out to be a mid­dle-of-the-road mix — spread­ing bil­lions across health and hous­ing but keep­ing busi­ness on­side with a com­fort­able sur­plus and debt fore­cast.

The New Zealand Herald - - Front Page -

More than 500,000 peo­ple will get cheaper doc­tors’ vis­its through Com­mu­nity Ser­vices cards and an ex­ten­sion of free GP vis­its to 13-year-olds. District health boards get $2.2b, in­clud­ing $750m for hos­pi­tal up­grades and re­builds, and com­mu­nity mid­wives get an 8.9% pay in­crease.

Each year, 1600 more state houses will be built at a cost of more than $4b, but Trea­sury has halved its fore­cast for the flag­ship Kiwi Build pro­gramme.

Prin­ci­pals were dis­ap­pointed in their 1.6% in­crease in schools’ op­er­at­ing grants, de­spite win­ning $ 395m for new schools and class­rooms and $70m ex­tra for more teach­ers. There will be 920 more po­lice of­fi­cers on the beat plus pop-up prison cells for the ris­ing jail pop­u­la­tion. Robert­son has squir­relled away most of the Gov­ern­ment’s ris­ing tax take, cre­at­ing a $3.7b sur­plus.

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