Budget day

Written By: - Date published: 9:55 am, May 18th, 2023 - 49 comments
Categories: budget 2023, grant robertson, labour - Tags:

Today is budget day.

Grant Robertson has been busy promising that there will be no major surprises.

Clearly he will not want to spook the Reserve Bank into raising interest rates further.  An increase before the election will not be politically helpful.

In a pre budget speech Robertson said that the themes of the budget would be:

  • supporting New Zealanders with the cost of living,
  • delivering the services New Zealanders rely on,
  • recovery and resilience, including economic resilience and
  • fiscal sustainability.

So I do not anticipate any major announcements except perhaps some form of return to citizens to alleviate hardship.

National will no doubt talk about excessive and wasteful Government spending.

Perhaps they should concentrate on the use of limos by their leader.

And it would help if their leader could get his figures right.

The fun kicks off at 2 pm.  This post will be updated as announcements are made.

Update:  The Herald has reported these headline policies:

  • Extension of 20 hours Early Childhood Education to 2 year olds – $1.2b
  • Abolition of $5 prescription co-payment – $619m
  • Cheaper public transport for children – $327m
  • $71m infrastructure spend
  • Inflation stays higher for longer
  • Net core Crown debt hits $181b

49 comments on “Budget day ”

  1. Ad 1

    They've dampened expectations down so much I'm irrationally excited.

  2. Herodotus 2

    I hope allocations from previous budgets will still be honoured. Those services that have not so far been delivered will be asap. As someone who has been to far too many funerals of friends and family that died too early there is a need out there TODAY, not some election promise to deliver next term. You have already had 2 terms and 5 budgets 🤬 that tactic has worn too thin for those that have experienced near loss or tragic loss.

  3. bwaghorn 3

    They'll subsidize child care so we can keep destroying the family until while enriching the child care owners and the parents using it will be no better off.

    They'll continue to subsidize rents thereby underpinning everything that's wrong with housing.

    • arkie 3.1

      Bang on the money:

      The Budget extends cheaper childcare to parents of two-year-olds, giving them access to 20 hours a week of free early childhood education (ECE). That support currently kicks in for children from the age of three.

      For eligible families, the extension could save them more than $130 a week in childcare costs for an extra year.


      It has the bonus that it will help keep both parents in fulltime employment. /s

    • Peter 3.2

      Those who put their children into childcare are destroying the family unit? Should we legislate then that parents must stay home with their kids until school age? (But looked after by grandparents is okay as that’s the family?

      Implies one parent must not work out of the home if there is a less than 5 year old there.

    • SPC 3.3

      They are funding more places and better pay for staff and extending the 20 hour subsidy to 2-3 year olds.

      Most ECE's are non profit.

      It improves the after home pay of those with children in care now 2-3 without subsidy.

      Whether some parents (sole and partner) struggling with mortgage and or rent payments, choose to return to work with children at 2 rather than 3 because of this, is their call.

      PS I would have applied a rent freeze through to the end of 2024 (and started it last year).

      • Phillip ure 3.3.1

        Having raised my now adult son on a dpb….so I could give him all that time…and being so glad I did…(not many men have had that experience/privilege..)

        It saddens me to think of parking a two year old in a daycare…as a work imperative..

        It's too young…

        And it puzzles me that labour people think this is a good thing..

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Doom and Gloom…Robbo still hammering that ridiculous 30% net debt limit.

  5. Phillip ure 5

    He has a hat..

    He has rabbits…

    Why wouldn't he..?

    • Phillip ure 5.1

      He seems to have left both his hat and his rabbits in the ministerial limo…

      An epic disappointment..

      Nothing for those doing it the hardest..

      Some more middle-class welfare ( childcare)..

      No ending of the lower benefit rates for the young…

      Nothing to address the galloping cost of food/the gouging parasitical landlord class..

      And nothing much in the way of action on the environmental threats fast bearing down on us..(..ev car recharging roll out is at this stage just more for the middle-class..

      Like I said…nothing for those doing it the hardest..

      Just another fucken exercise in neoliberal-incrementalist/fuck-the-poor politics…

      The ghosts of douglas/richardson/shipley still stalk those halls… laughing..

  6. Ad 6

    That's my boy

    • Red Blooded One 7.1

      SPC just checking this isn't a personal comment. You are fine?

      • SPC 7.1.1

        Just recovering from Luxon's repetition of the phrase – not fine.

        Apparently we are being directed to feel/believe/reckon that things are not fine until National is elected.

        Some sort of National blue skies gaslighting, it's a rip off of the GOP attack on the Capitol Hill as a swamp – when Democrats are in charge.

        • Red Blooded One

          Oh phew, I hadn't picked up on todays Luxon Lies and Sky is Falling Theatrics. Haha. 👍

  7. Thinker 8

    Shame on GR…

    Hipkins gave him Michael Cullen's old tie and it looks like he didn't wear it.

    If someone gave me Michael Cullen's old tie, I'd frame it. He put NZ back on a sound footing, then the opposition/incoming government used him/his fund for political put-downs, so he never got true credit for what he did, and then he had the misfortune to die relatively young. Yet, you rarely saw him complain.

    • Corey 8.1

      Cullen was an ok finance minister who inherited a surplus from the previous government, a small surplus but a surplus and then Cullen rode a global economic boom that enabled 8 more consecutive surpluses.

      I hated how national claimed labour stuffed up the economy when there was a global economic downturn and I hated how labour refused to admit that they inherited surpluses in 99 and 2017.

      The reality is both are ok economic managers, if not extremely visionless.

      Though no new Zealander should ever forgive national for getting rid of the super in the 70s or Ruth Richardsons mother of all budgets decimating NZ quality of life and wealth.

    • Phillip ure 8.2

      Cullen did s.f.a. for those most damaged by the neoliberal-revolution of douglas…

      He rolled back none of that shit…

      And was treasurer in clarks fuck-the-poor government..

      So dunno where from/why your deifying of him..

  8. observer 9

    Body language of Nat MPs for Luxon's speech … oh dear.

    He's toast.

  9. Alan 10

    OCR of at least 6.5% here we come.

    Renters will be wearing the cost of this.

  10. Ad 11

    Loved the precision targeting.

    Blunts so many attack lines.

  11. roy cartland 12

    Interesting the crossover areas in GP and TPM speeches. Similar destination, different paths to.

  12. aj 13

    May only qualify as a downturn, not a recession.

  13. Tony Veitch 14

    Marama Davidson's budget speech by far the best of all the party leaders! (IMHO)

  14. Mike the Lefty 15

    ACT could honestly claim that they could save 46 billion dollars a year on projected government expenditure.

    That is social security/welfare spending.

    Because under an ACT government there will be no social security and no welfare.

  15. observer 16

    It's surprising that various commentators (e.g. TV3) are suggesting it's not much of an election-year budget.

    It's a politically savvy budget that must change National's plans. For example …

    Before today, National would not have gone into the election promising to abolish prescription charges. But now they have to promise to keep prescriptions free. Or, promise to reinstate them, which would be electoral suicide (so they won't do it).

    ACT love user-pays so they will probably propose to dump Labour's policy. Then Luxon (Willis?) gets asked "Will you rule out bringing back prescription charges?".

    Cue waffle ("no current plans, in terms of, at the end of the day, it depends …").

    It's not about the $5, so much as the trust issue. Luxon is so hopeless at definitive answers that National will issue a "clarification" after he's put his foot in it.

    Politically, it's a master stroke.

    • observer 16.1

      Willis is now being reported (Stuff, Herald) as wanting to bring the prescription charges back. So, Grants gets his win. Silly Nicola, snookered already.

      It's a knee-jerk reaction from Willis and it's a fair bet that after they've done some polling or held a few focus groups, National won't go into the election promising prescription charges.

      • Graeme 16.1.1

        Which is going to be real fun if Nicola ends up leader, she'll be asked about it all the time.

    • Herodotus 16.2

      So to stress out most of NZ with the current cost of living crisis the reaction of the govt is a master stroke, time for many to get out into the real world and see (obviously not experience).

      How does someone living within what was Manukau City benefit from the bus subsidy? I note the PM mischievously uses the term "Eligible" and "could" Within my local community Botany, Orminston, Tangaroa do NOT use buses, so how will this assist those who do not use this ??? “.. with 774,000 additional children and young people now eligible for the Community Connect discount scheme. Free fares for kids under 13 could see savings of $30 a week for families with two children." How to look like you care and then give nothing 🤬. And loyal Labour communities pay the price and suffer.



      • weka 16.2.1

        why don't people in those communities use buses?

        • Herodotus

          Many live within the school zones, close enough physically that they do not need public transport (Many around the country would be in the same situation ) Think how many live within walking distance of their school- I am sure some cannot afford should they desire to use that option should they wish and others public transport is not workable. So for these families how does this announcement do anything to diminish the impacts of inflation and the cost of living situation ? And the vague language used displays to me that the Politicians know this-BUT it gives the impression that they care !!! Pity about the reality !!


        • Belladonna

          We all hope it's going to get better, but in Auckland, at least, buses (including school buses) are increasingly unreliable. Any bad weather (and ATM that seems to be every second week), sees a raft of buses delayed or cancelled.

          Kids have been late so often for school, that parents are finding other alternatives (driving them). I'm sure it contributes to the absentee rate as well (kid waits for school bus, bus doesn't arrive, kid slopes off to the mall or home)


          The only other times that kids are realistically going to be using buses is weekends. When services are infrequent, unreliable, and don't go where you want them to: e.g. bus from my suburb to Takapuna beach (about 10 mins drive), runs once an hour (if that) on weekends, and takes about 45 minutes (roundabout route stopping everywhere). Not much use in the height of summer. Most bus routes still go into the city on weekends. Not many kids or teens want to go to the CBD on the weekends. Bus routes to family attractions (zoo, museum, beaches, etc) are poor (infrequent, bad routes).

          The other major barrier to bus usage is the cost of the HOP card (which I'm assuming that the kids will still need to use to tag on and off – certainly the seniors do, for their free travel). It costs $15 to buy. Each time. Anyone who's had kids knows that school bus tickets/passes are one of the most lost items – not to mention bent, spindled and mutilated. When my kid was in primary, it was rare for a term to go by, without needing to buy a new HOP card – when you have 2 or more kids – the cost becomes significant.

          • Muttonbird

            The alternative is parents literally driving their kids everywhere, all the time.

            Not a concept actual parents want to consider.

            • alwyn

              You haven't seen the parents in Wellington.

            • Belladonna

              The point raised was what are the barriers to bus use (in Auckland)

              I don't believe that cost is a significant one (at least for school kids).

              Actual parents spend a heck of a lot of time driving kids around in Auckland – simply because the bus service is inadequate (unreliable, doesn't go where people need it to, when they need to get there) and (increasingly) considered to be unsafe (kids having to wait at dodgy hubs, or for buses that don't turn up, let alone the bullying and intimidation both on the buses and waiting for them). School buses are (more or less) trusted – to be safe; and parents are inclined to trust major bus routes during peak hours to be safe. But out of hours? Or multi-stop trips? Not many would think it's a great idea for younger kids to do solo.

              Do you find that cost is the reason that your family does or does not use buses?

  16. Mike the Lefty 17

    I would have liked to see some, even limited, provision of free dental treatment but I really only dared to hope.

  17. Jack 18

    Never has the expectation in every aspect of New Zealand life (health, education, law and order, economy etc) been set so excessively low. Depressingly unambitious budget.

  18. Corey 19

    So I finally got to read the budget.

    It's fine… I guess.

    The targeting half priced public transport to under 25s is weird, whenever I catch a bus it's like 30s-60s and I don't think labours gonna be thanked by many of it's voters for doubling their transport costs in the middle of winter, in an election year in a cost of living crisis.

    .Theyll rue the day they reverse that fuel subsidy, again in winter, in a cost of living crisis in an election year, they should have scrapped it in January rather than getting rid of it in WINTER.


    Grant hasnt stuck to a budget in 5 years though, I guarantee you, when the subsidies end and labour drops 5% in the polls (which they absolutely will over this) labour will freak out and find some magic money and extend it to the end of the election.

    Half priced buses should have been made permeant for everyone.

    Other than that it's. .. a meh… Tory lite budget

    I am increasingly thinking, labour wants to lose 2023 so it doesn't have to work with the Maori party … Cos Jesus Christ if this is the best labour has in an election year with a full majority….

    God save us.

  19. Stuart Munro 20

    Well it seems that the now defunct Jenny Craig is not the only scam that persuades people they must wait.

    'You must forego a social life until you're thinner' was the implicit message of the company to its victims, whereas Labour's is, 'You must not expect a modest prosperity until we achieve some unstated growth number, which none of our policies are directed to achieving'.

    Austerity always comes down to hunger.

  20. adam 21

    Nothing to see here, move along…

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