Among the billions he has splashed out on health and education, Grant Robertson has only dipped his little toe into the potentially bottomless depths of public sector pay claims, doling out $103 million for community midwives.
While not a pay-rise for the publicsector unions itself, it signals the first step towards health and education workers getting a dividend. Worryingly for the Government, the Treasury’s forecasts now suggest its flagship $2 billion Kiwibuild scheme will not stimulate private building activity as quickly as promised, creating more pressure for Government to deliver homes in other ways.
Minister Stuart Nash has built on sensible funding for Inland Revenue to chase down tax cheats, generating more Government revenue.
It sits uneasily, however, next to the reintroduction of a billion-dollar “R&D tax credit”, which is practically an invitation to accountants to avoid tax through the shuffling of paper, rather than encouraging genuine innovation.