Who wins and loses in this year’s Bud­get?

The Southland Times - - National News / Budget 2018 - Stacey Kirk

It’s the Gov­ern­ment’s first Bud­get and they’re find­ing out the mean­ing of pri­ori­ti­sa­tion.

There’s a lot of money to go around but not ev­ery­one is go­ing to get what they want. We break down the win­ners and losers of the 2018 Bud­get.

WIN­NERS

Young teens and vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies: The Gov­ern­ment’s cen­tre­piece pack­age is two-fold and will in­crease ac­cess to GPs for chil­dren un­der 14 and any­one who has a Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Card. Cur­rently 12-year-olds and un­der can ac­cess free doc­tors vis­its. That is be­ing ex­tended to in­clude 13-year-olds at a cost of $3.7m in the first year but $22m over four years. And the Gov­ern­ment will also ex­tend el­i­gi­bil­ity for a com­mu­nity ser­vices card to in­clude any Hous­ing NZ ten­ant, any­one re­ceiv­ing the Ac­com­mo­da­tion Sup­ple­ment and any­one re­ceiv­ing an in­come-re­lated rent sub­sidy. That will see up to $30 chopped off the cost of a GP visit for up to 600,000 peo­ple.

Peo­ple wait­ing for state homes: There’s sup­posed to be 6400 com­ing in the next four years – that’s the plan and the Gov­ern­ment has funded $234m to­wards that and al­lowed Hous­ing NZ to bor­row $2.9b.

Con­ser­va­tion­ists: The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion has been given $181.6m over four years – the largest boost since 2002. How­ever the Greens didn’t come close to get­ting what they promised here – a dou­bling of DOC’s bud­get to more than $600m.

LOSERS Wage-earn­ers: Work­ers on the av­er­age wage could soon find them­selves pay­ing more tax, as wage in­fla­tion is tipped to push more into the top tax bracket in the next five years. The av­er­age wage is set to hit $70,000 in the next five years and all of those earn­ers will be taxed the same as New Zealand’s most wealthy. Schools and stu­dents: The coun­try’s run­down school sys­tem hasn’t re­ceived the cash in­jec­tion some might have hoped for. There’s $394m set aside to fund new schools and about 200 ad­di­tional class­rooms to cater for pop­u­la­tion growth and fur­ther cap­i­tal in­vest­ment for the Christchurch Schools Re­build pro­gramme. That pop­u­la­tion growth is ex­pected to reach more than 17,000 ad­di­tional stu­dents by 2020. The Gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated a 1.6 per cent in­crease to schools’ op­er­a­tional fund­ing – up on the 1.3 per cent in last year’s Bud­get and the freeze on op­er­a­tional fund­ing in 2016 – short of the tra­di­tional 2 per cent in­crease in pre­vi­ous years.

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