Who wins and loses in this year’s Budget?
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.
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.