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The Budget

Written By: - Date published: 2:09 pm, May 17th, 2018 - 168 comments
Categories: grant robertson, greens, labour, nz first, Parliament, parliamentary spending, Politics - Tags:

An evolving post to cover budget announcements.

Treasury’s budget at a glance summary is very helpful as is Scoop’s commentary (thanks r0b).

$3.2 billion more for health services over the next four years

More money for conservation …

More money for Christchurch.

More for education.

Bigger spend and a $3 billion surplus.

A 4.7% increase in health spending, what is needed to maintain current levels of DHB services.

And more teachers.

And a crackdown on company tax evasion and avoidance.

Simon Bridges is now speaking. What a shouty mess.

And his claims about health need checking.

They have …

Shouty Simon.

And Jacinda gives the perfect response.

168 comments on “The Budget”

  1. Cinny 2

    Just tuned in, has education been announced yet please?

  2. james 3

    As a rightie – I would have to say not a bad budget all in all.

    • lprent 3.1

      So the sky is not falling?

      From what I can see, this budget mostly contains things that National said they would like to do – but never made more than token waffling to effect. And a few of the absolute disasters that National was experimenting with (and refusing to believe just didn’t work) have been canned.

      It as usual is never enough. But at first glance, and bearing in mind the marginal amounts that can be moved around after the core expenditures have been maintained, it actually does a good job.

    • Cinny 3.2

      James, that’s awesome, I admire your honesty.

      Just got the chills, especially when Grant announced next year we will be the first country on the planet who presents a health and well-being budget, the chills are a good good thing 🙂

      Also, lots of NEW funding, and a clampdown on tax avoidance/evasion, excellent.

      Meanwhile simons right of reply is intriguing, he lacks any mojo.

    • Craig H 3.3

      Quite moderate – spreads a bit more cash but still strong surpluses for rainy days/debt reduction.

    • patricia bremner 3.4

      Simon doesn’t agree James. Thank you as a leftie.

    • Any slight improvement on Nationals destruction is still an improvement , – but I guess what James is really saying is neo liberalism in this country is the source of virtually ALL the economic and social problems we have developed in the last three decades.

      Thank you , James.

      We work and work: We’re the ‘working poor’ | Stuff.co.nz
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/104031518/We-work-and-work-We-re-the-working-poor

      Makes you feel a lot like this towards all these politicians at times , doesn’t it , James…

      Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK – YouTube

      • WILD KATIPO 3.5.1

        But I must say ,- Jacinda Adern was brilliant, witty , sharp and far more entertaining than John Key and certainly Boring Bill ever was !

        Well done New Zealand – you picked a winner !

        ”On that side of the house there is a lot of ‘shouty ,shouty’ not ‘ planny ,planny’ ”…

        And I did like the references to our former Keynesian model which saw us as the 6th wealthiest country on the globe with virtual full employment, decent wages, and great health and education standards…

        All things stolen from us from 1984 onwards.

  3. r0b 4

    Simon Bridges is a complete tosser. Long may he lead the Nats.

    Shout some more Simon, shout some more!

  4. Kat 5

    Yes its all “Winston’s” fault according to the bridge to nowhere……. looking at the opposition on line their faces say it all, so arrogantly pissed off they are. The bridge to nowhere is shouting shouting shouting……..screaming nearly…..crikey they are pissed at Robertson’s very forward thinking budget.

    The bridge to nowhere wants the boat to go faster but unfortunately he has missed it.

  5. r0b 6

    What a breath of fresh air Ardern is.

    • roy cartland 6.1

      I agree – she does the ‘positive’ speech extremely well, it’s a rare skill. Anyone can do the shouty complaining, put-down-loaded, doom-and-gloom one.

    • Ad 6.2

      It’s kinda unusual and refreshing that the best comms strategy can be both formed and delivered by the Prime Minister herself, rather than appearing to camera like over-trained dogs like they usually do.

    • Cinny 6.3

      +1

  6. Puckish Rogue 7

    Has the spend on defence been announced also congrats to National for giving Grant a big surplus to play with 🙂

    • roy cartland 7.1

      Which surplus? M. Bovis? Or cow shit? Or poverty?

    • Kat 7.2

      Small thanks for Michael’s nine straight surpluses and near zero crown debt back in 2008.

      • Baba Yaga 7.2.1

        …and a decade of deficits he then left to the country…

        • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1

          A decade of fictitious deficits beloved of RWNJ trolls who have no other argument.

          • Baba Yaga 7.2.1.1.1

            They were forecast by Treasury.

            • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes we know – the fuckwits who produced Don Brash.

              There was no decade of deficits – just as there was no wage parity with Australia or aspirational society or any of the other far-right fantasies.

              Confine yourself to facts – Treasury anecdotes are even less reliable than their predictions. The statistical confidence of Treasury predictions is less than chance, which is what happens when an organization puts dogma ahead of objectivity.

              • Baba Yaga

                No decade of deficits? What lala land are you living in Stuart?

                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10536181

                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10536180
                “The numbers in this horror story are truly awful. It is goodbye to operating surpluses for close to a decade. The forecasts for the separate cash deficit figure nearly double to $6-7 billion for the foreseeable future. Growth slumps. Unemployment jumps. These numbers will almost certainly get worse. The Treasury’s forecasts were done before last week’s maelstrom on Wall Street. ”

                Truly awful.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Yeah but that was Bill English’s gross and sustained incompetence. He sucked the liquidity out of the economy and always fell short of Treasury predictions – just as Cullen primed the pump and always surpassed them.

                  Why you would persist in trying to peddle this stale lie is hard to fathom.

                  So an extreme rightwing think tank (Treasury) whose predictions are less reliable on average than flipping a coin, had an ideological belch designed to assist the National Party. Big whoop.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “Yeah but that was Bill English’s gross and sustained incompetence. ”

                    In 2008? Get a grip Stuart.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Mate – I didn’t read your link – the Herald is no authority on the economy and frankly given their performance neither is Treasury.

                      You come here with a pathetic little snippet with as much relationship to reality as HKSB’s “rock-star economy” and expect not to be ridiculed?

                      We’ve lived through nine years of gross and sustained economic underperformance caused by National’s misgovernance.

                      We understand that they cannot stand on that wretched record, and that recycling bogus Treasury anecdotes is all they’ve got.

                      Give it a rest: even died-in-the-wool Gnat supporters struggle to swallow that level of bullshit.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Mate – I didn’t read your link ”

                      And yet you commented on it? You live in a parallel universe Stuart. Read the content, and then comment. Not the other way around.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I was commenting on your fatuous lie about a decade of deficits.

                      Don’t tell fatuous lies and I won’t have to rubbish you.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      You seem to forget, Stuart, that the decade of deficits was Treasury’s workings, and was analysed by commentators as I have already evidenced /the-budget/#comment-1485413.

                      You can’t just lie these things away.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Lying your arse off about decades of deficits may entrance the subnormal denizens of rancid cetacean bile, but it won’t really float here.

                      Yes Treasury’s workings – a spurious calculation that was not borne out in the real world.

                      Fuck your speculation – show us the decade of deficits. You can’t because they never happened. They were a scare story – a sound bite short enough for you and your fellow cretins to remember, but having no basis in reality.

                      This same argument has been had here before by your fellow trolls – it has not gathered substance over the years, though it may be said that we understand why, in your position, you must go back to before the previous government to find anything that could conceivably show them in a good light.

        • Marcus Morris 7.2.1.2

          Please elaborate – if you can.

        • roy cartland 7.2.1.3

          Cullen responsible for National’s deficits. Brilliant, mate.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 7.2.1.3.1

            and national responsible for labours surpluses.

            go figure

          • Baba Yaga 7.2.1.3.2

            National’s deficits were caused by borrowing to fund social services through a recession (inherited from Cullen) and a GFC, and rebuilding a major NZ city.

            • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.3.2.1

              National’s deficits were the product of gross incompetence and corruption.

              Not rebuilding Christchurch must have seemed awfully clever to the braindead morons of the rotten right – but leaving NZ’s second largest urban economy in ruins was always going to hurt the bottom line in the long term, no matter how creative the accounting got.

              • Baba Yaga

                So the economy wasn’t going into recession.

                There was no GFC.

                There were no earthquakes.

                There is no $3 billion surplus for Labour to throw away.

                Dream, in Stuart, dream on.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Of course we were headed into recession – some pack of fools let Bill English near the books. You know his wife has to balance his chequebooks for him. It only took him a year or so to utterly destroy Solid Energy.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    In 2008 Cullen had been in charge of the books for 9 years. You really are confused.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Yup – and on taking power the Gnats thanked him for leaving the books in such good shape. It took them a few months to construct the false narrative that you are now so desperately trying to resuscitate. It won’t work I tell you, it’s dead – you need more electric eels, and probably Kenneth Branagh.

        • Barfly 7.2.1.4

          You should be a herbicide Baba – it’s all spray and run away

    • Ad 7.3

      At the going down of National’s political sun

      We will remember them

      • Puckish Rogue 7.3.1

        Nothing like a smidgen of complacency and soupcon of over confidence to let National back in 🙂

        • Stuart Munro 7.3.1.1

          Quite – perish the thought that the long-suffering citizens of NZ might have the option of a government that could actually succeed on its merits.

        • mac1 7.3.1.2

          It’s called hope, puck, and it’s a great virtue to see being fulfilled.

          Hope for our environment, for our people, for our economy.

          A budget that is for inclusiveness, for a fair go, for kindness and understanding.

          And who is it for? The people. The people. The people.

          And the terrible speech that Bridges made? It would be hard to not have confidence in besting that leader.

          Whereas, again, Ardern especially was brilliant in her rebuttal. The old grey fox Winston said that that budget was the reason why NZF went where they did after the election. James Shaw was happy with his role in his party’s first budget into which the Greens had input.

          The budget has vision for the future. Not complacency, but more hard work indicated to be done.

      • Halfcrown 7.3.2

        At the going down of National’s political sun

        We will remember them

        Ha, I like it

      • greywarshark 7.3.3

        I don’t know. The human brain can develop amnesia after having had great trauma.

    • Wayne 7.4

      To Puckish Rogue on Defence,

      The operating expenses for 2017/18 was $2,070 million and the budget for 2018/19 is $2,163 million, an increase of 4.9%. The 4 year increase is around $320 million, so the defence increase is affectively all delivered this year. The following 3 years are flat. Of course Ron might get new money next year.

      No real provision for capital. That is to be expected. Those allocations are only ever made when new things are actually purchased. That is why the $20 billion capital is not actually included, either by this government or the last.

      Treasury Rules (which apply to all governments and have been the same for at least 20 years) don’t allow the allocation unless the specific thing to be purchased has been actually agreed. Not just the idea of it but an actual contract.

      For instance in health the $750 million capital allocation is essentially for Dunedin Hospital now that it has been formally agreed. If the govt wants to replace Middlemore (which they should) there will be a capital injection of $1 billion once the decision to replace is actually made. But until then Treasury Rules don’t allow any capital allocation.

    • NZJester 7.5

      Yes, I know Pluckish Rogue. It is amazing thanks to National how much extra money this government now has to spend on essential services now that they have decided to cancel all the expensive vanity and money wasting projects of the former National Government. I mean just imagine what John Key could have done with all that flag referendum money if he had spent that on health or housing instead of wasting it on a flag referendum.

    • Nic the NZer 7.6

      Its not National giving anything. Doller for doller its NZers handing back their savings to the government (above its expendature needs) which produces the surplus.
      That is where any thanks are due.

  7. Exkiwiforces 8

    Was in Reply to PR’s comment on Defence funding.

    Yes Defence budget has increased by 4.9% I believe, but I think once it’s divvy up there won’t be much in it. When you consider that the No Mates Party didn’t even put any funds aside and let alone future financial planning on where these funds were coming from for the 15yr $20B Capability upgrade for Defence after DWP was released.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1805/S00243/enhancing-defence-force-capability.htm

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      Time to junk the very very expensive P-8 replacement for the old Orions and find a cheaper alternative with less capability.
      Boeing was offering a mid level capability based on a large business jet, the MSA
      http://www.boeing.com/defense/maritime-surveillance/maritime-surveillance-aircraft/index.page

      • Exkiwiforces 8.1.1

        I too am against the purchase of P8 for multiple reason, such IP issues when it comes to future updates and servicing as it’s more likely to be done in Oz, it’s needs to have UAV’s in support to get the best use out it Mission support systems so there’s another Billion dollar plus which could be better spent else where in Defence or a new hospital etc, Force Protection issues on the ground both in active and passive, tries us into the US Military Special Projects Progarm and finally massive upgrades to RNZAF Bases etc etc.

        Where as the P-1 and C-2 Aircraft from Japan offers a lot more if we get over the fact it maybe a little more expensive, but when we look at the long term benefits both from Military and MFAT POV then this the better option to take in my view in light of what’s coming out Washington atm IRT Trade sanctions etc.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawasaki_P-1

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawasaki_C-2

        • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1

          This story says the P-1 is cheaper than P-8
          Maritime patrol aircraft

          Kawasaki P-1
          Cost: $240m
          Speed: 996km/h
          Altitude: 13,520m
          Range: 8000km

          Boeing P-8
          Cost: $360m
          Speed: 907km/h
          Altitude: 12,496
          Range: 8300km
          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11781746

          But sometimes even those numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Plus the P-1 would need another ‘western buyer’, maybe Canada or France say ?

          • Exkiwiforces 8.1.1.1.1

            Not necessarily, but it depends on how risk the MOD/ RNZAF are prepared to take on? I personally and a few others that I know within RNZAF would expect the risk and if we are also turn it into a bulk buy with the C2 Transport A/C as well then there could be a lot of savings in the short to long term as well.

            My ideal ORBAT would be 6 P1’s, 6 C2’s and 6 C295’s from Airbus with an additional option for a further 3 Aircraft each if funding permits down the track which would the RNZAF the greater Utility of Force before the demise of old Andover’s in the 90’s.

            From a MFAT POV, it show that we serious about the CTTP would lead to better trade access to the Japanese market for our primary producers etc unlike the US which has put sanctions/ tariffs on our exports to the US of late. We could become a Southern Hub for maintaining the P1 and C2 Aircraft without the US IP issues that come with the P8 and again leading the way to in STEM training at SAFE Air for regional NZ which could lead things down the track the whole of NZ.

            Chile sends it P3’s to SAFE Air deep level maintenance and the required upgrades for the mission support systems etc. They looking replacing there P3’s down the track along with many other P3 users over the next decade or so.

            There are a lot of possible benefits going Japanese than with Yanks ATM. NZ has been known to think outside the box and a few countries are watching where we go with the P3 and C130 replacements. If we go Japanese then I wouldn’t be surprised these go Japanese as well.

  8. SPC 9

    Who taught the parrot to say “borrow and hope”?

    Adams?

    Whatever, a cliche (even more boring than cassandra pointing again and again at an imaginary hole) and just a little out of touch with the reality of a budget surplus and debt falling as a share of GDP.

  9. indiana 10

    I’m going to start investing in race horses…they just become tax deductible!

    • Puckish Rogue 10.1

      “by virtue of its bloodlines, looks and racing potential”

      I’m not suggesting the racing industry has had anything financial to do with Winnie or NZFirst in any way shape or form 🙂

    • savenz 10.2

      A little known fact is that NZ has an estimated 138 million of thoroughbred (racehorse) exports 2017… and employs a lot of young people…

      • indiana 10.2.1

        The industry must have been on the brink of collapsing that a tax relief program was required.

        • savenz 10.2.1.1

          I have to admit is seems like weird wording and is not really going to help most of the bloodstock industry but, I suspect the wording is designed with the view to help retain good potential breeding horses, because NZ loses all it’s best horses overseas and so it’s a way to retain future breeding stock within this country.

          NZ needs to diversify industries, this is a diversified agricultural industry with higher values of it’s products aka baby horses, unlike cows.

          • savenz 10.2.1.1.1

            A cow and a horse generally need the same amount of land to grow on. A baby cow sells for a fraction of what a baby racehorse does at a year old. At the top end they average $155k per horse, mid end $46k per horse and $13k for the lower end. It may seem weird if you are not in the agricultural industry but there might be more behind this one than it seems.

  10. Puckish Rogue 11

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/103972767/labour-unveils-a-nationallite-budget

    “The cover page of Labour’s first Budget in more than a decade might be red but in tone it was pale blue.

    The only surprise was the size of the surplus, at $3.1 billion, and there was nothing else in the Budget to overshadow that number – which is exactly as Labour would have wanted.

    Finance Minister Grant Robertson was almost channelling former National finance minister Bill English when he repeatedly referred to the Budget as fiscally cautious.”

    Well National channelled Labour so turn abouts fair play but this is a good thing because the last National and Labour governments were middle of the road so Labour continuing on this path is what NZ wants

    • savenz 11.1

      For what ever reason the government seems to make a lot more money under a Labour led government…

      • mac1 11.1.1

        Growth according to The Minister of Finance is going to be 3% for the next four years, and wage increases predicted to be 3.1%. Unemployment is on the way down, and targeted to be 4.1% in 2020.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Well National channelled Labour so turn abouts fair play but this is a good thing because the last National and Labour governments were middle of the road so Labour continuing on this path is what NZ wants

      About as middle of the road as Hitler and what the populace wants isn’t what’s needed.

      And then there’s the fact that the populace doesn’t actually want what the government is giving. It’s just closer.

      Business and the rich are still holding us back too much.

    • Siobhan 11.3

      We should stop calling it a ‘surplus’ though.
      It suggests money put aside after all obligations and basic requirements have been met.
      I guess it should just be called ‘Savings’, or maybe ‘Savings due to Deferred Social and Economic Obligations, Decency and Vision’.

      • savenz 11.3.1

        @Siobhan, a good way of putting it.

      • NZJester 11.3.2

        Actually, it was mentioned it was being saved to help cover any future natural disaster that might happen in the next few years. It is very likely to be needed in the next few years too if you listen to some of the warnings and dangers being seen scientists have been talking about being caused by global warming.

  11. mauī 12

    Is Symo commenting on the budget or commentating a Warriors league game? Hard to tell..

  12. Ad 13

    One noticeable absence close to my heart is the failure of this budget to deliver on its campaign promise for Radio New Zealand.

    They have put $15 million against the broadcasting line, but it’s not specific where that will go to.

    It is a lot less than Labour’s pre-election promise of $38 million a year for RNZ and public broadcasting funding agency New Zealand On Air to deliver “quality New Zealand programming and journalism’”.

    Minister Curran fail.

    • mac1 13.1

      Ad, I listened to the Budget, and took notes. On Broadcasting, there is $15 million as you say. The Minister of Finance did say there would be more later, after the reviews have been made, and then those decisions can be funded. You can’t budget money without knowing how the money is to be spent. See Wayne at 7.4 above to understand why.

      But, there is an extra $15 million on top of the $38 million figure in the last budget under National.

    • Marcus Morris 13.2

      Have to say I agree Ad. I had hoped for a much more significant boost – otherwise I am content – can’t help sighing over the inane comments from the awful “Crusher”:

  13. roy cartland 14

    Judith Collins is simply ghastly. Dog-whistling, nationalistic and self righteous.

    • mac1 14.1

      The worst part was when she claimed that only two Maori would benefit from the Budget- Peters and Jones.

      As if she could claim to speak for Maori…………………

    • greywarshark 14.2

      Collins. Probably jingoistic as well.

  14. Tuppence Shrewsbury 15

    It’s a good budget. delivering meaningful change and providing to those who need it most while not penalising any particular sector to pay for it and still delivering a surplus.

    Well done GR. it’s hard to pull him up for the spin on the spending when all governments indulge in it so going to let him have his day today.

  15. Bewildered 16

    Agree it’s a good responsible budget, well done labour. If I was national I would not over do the negativity for negativity sake, labour spent far much time doing this in opposition to their detriment

    • McFlock 17.1

      That’s uni policy rather than fiscal constraint.

      Bloody stupid though. We’ll end up like the James Caan version of Rollerball, the movie.

    • David Mac 17.2

      I like libraries, book clubs for introverts. I fear they’re destined for the same fate as stables, a rich person’s folly. In a practical sense, carrying the world’s literature on my phone or tablet takes some beating.

      • savenz 17.2.1

        These are specialist music, art and architecture and planning books which are not that easy to view on your phone/tablet especially if you are blind – see the link… it’s a university where you expect to find well run libraries with specialist books!

        Auckland is one of the few NZ universities making it onto world rankings in the top 100, why they want reduce services to students – long term it does not pay off.

        https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2018/04/30/disabled-school-of-music-alumna-its-wrong-to-use-accessibility-as-a-scapegoat-for-closing-university-libraries/

        • savenz 17.2.1.1

          It’s also jobs for people – they are making quite a few people redundant if they close the library.

          • David Mac 17.2.1.1.1

            Yep, I love libraries savenz, I just don’t think they’re part of the future. Rather than expanding on the number of braille titles available in a library I think our future will bring something like a tactile gel braille ipad and like me, the blind will have ready access to the libraries of the world.

            The jobs, yep. Henry Ford sent the blacksmiths packing. Job markets have always morphed to suit the times and the older we get the more we pine for our good old days.

            • One Two 17.2.1.1.1.1

              Libraries should absolutely be part of the future…

            • Molly 17.2.1.1.1.2

              You are missing the education, social and community values of libraries. They are a true resource for free education. Also, physical browsing in a library, often leads to truly random offerings and new interests, much more so than computer algorithm suggestions on your device.

              More importantly, they provide a community shared space that people of all incomes, ages, abilities and interests can go to and feel included. That is a unique aspect of libraries that is not replicated in any other place, and is often mistakenly undervalued.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                ” That is a unique aspect of libraries that is not replicated in any other place, and is often mistakenly undervalued.”

                Not by these guys…(take note of the constabulary presence.)

                http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/05/huge-protests-at-auckland-university-over-library-closures.html

              • savenz

                +100 Molly – in particular – “physical browsing in a library, often leads to truly random offerings and new interests”. This is especially important for students of specialist subjects.

                Also art and architecture and planning often have very large books with high quality plates so they can’t translate in any way to a much smaller formal of phone or tablet.

                The specialist law library which mostly texted base books and does translate a lot better onto new technology has been saved from the chop so this is clearly not very well thought out.

                So in my view it is more about marginalising the arts informing decisions than any real thought behind it.

                Clearly the viral spread of neoliberalism is infecting their last victims in the few last corners previously uneffected, such as the arts specialist libraries.

                .

        • greywarshark 17.2.1.2

          David Mac
          I find that completely impractical. Carrying everything around with you like a snail? And with all the barriers to getting at it. And if there isn’t a dedicated place to go and study it, will it continue to be highly regarded by all? Will the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame still mean something to the proles?

          Being allocated a bit of memory on your soon to be defunct or lost IED is not the same as having a special building expressly to keep the flower of human intelligence where it can be seen touched and heard and treasured.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 17.3

      Ah the old single issue policy chasing that sunk the last labour government.

  16. Marcus Morris 18

    1+

  17. One Anonymous Bloke 19

    Next year, we will be the first nation in the world to deliver a well-being budget.

    Grant Robertson.

    Change the narrative. That’d be nice.

  18. McFlock 20

    Well, at first glance it doesn’t rock my world, but seems sensible enough. Genuine investment in health and education, and some good programmes getting off the ground. Generally positive.

  19. Chris T 21

    Kind of boring

    Thought it was humorous that Labour were criticising nationals proposed lower and middle tax bracket changes as being tax cuts for the rich.

    When now they have given us tax cuts for race horse owners. Free uni to rich kids and free power for rich older people.

    Oh well. Politicians are a strange lot

    • SPC 21.1

      Those who look at the matter seriously would note.

      1. Most are better off with WFF tax credits than with National’s tax cuts – and at a lower cost. Thus freeing up funding for more state houses and health.

      2. The cost of the cheaper (not free) power for richer oldies is less than the cost of a means testing regime for the payment.

      3. The equivalent of free education to the end of high school before employment of times past is now to under-graduate degree (or polytech equivalent).

      • Chris T 21.1.1

        I never said they weren’t better off

        I was merely pointing out it is also free money to the rich.

        You failed to mention the need for tax cuts to race horse owners

    • mac1 21.2

      Free access to tax paid for services like health, education should be for the rich as well, Chris T. It is one reason for the well off to want to pay and not avoid taxation.

      The book “Viking Economics” by George Lakey explains why the wealthy and entrepreneurial at least tolerate higher taxation rates in Scandinavia as they see the benefit for themselves and their society. Well educated workers, top health services, protection for businesses and workers when things start to fail.

      An example for us all is the Scandinavian model.

    • dukeofurl 21.3

      The first free year covers all trades training ( 2 years as its a part time), all the other diplomas and training that you need to work in wharehouses, market gardens, aged care and so on and on.

      It seems to be only 1/3 who benefit will be ‘uni kids’

      • savenz 21.3.1

        Corporate relief to all those flaky courses…. would be better to go back to the old days and actually do on the job training that employers used to pay for! Seriously some are these courses are mush – no wonder youth are committing suicide in record numbers – who knew you needed to waste years of your life to get a worthless piece of paper that when you could have been earning a wage and learning at the same time on the job like you used to.

        When they decided education was a business to make profits on they really screwed up, it’s a social good and making someone do a 1 year unpaid cleaning course or hospitality for example is making people and the government a lot poorer (aka supporting yourself for 1 – 3 year without an income is tough and you need to rely on a much larger income at the end of your course to justify it, which sadly most of the fake qualifications in low wage industries, don’t provide) .

    • mac1 21.4

      “free uni to rich kids”.

      I didn’t know this either, Chris T, so no point scoring on this one. SPC had this point at #3, but I missed its import.

      “Mr Robertson told The AM Show people mistakenly thought the policy was only for academics heading to university.

      “Actually, that pays for two years of an apprenticeship for both the apprentice and the employer. The whole point of that policy is to get more people training.

      “We are seeing a pick-up in workplace training there already, and we’re going to see more of that in the future.”

      He said most of those benefitting from the policy weren’t even going to university.”

  20. Stuart Munro 22

    I haven’t gone through the numbers yet, but the speech is two divisions above the Gnats, minimum. Hope they like locusts and honey – they’re gonna be in the wilderness for a long, long time.

    • greywarshark 22.1

      They’re not having any of my honey. Locusts okay. And manna -they can go round scraping that up.

      • Stuart Munro 22.1.1

        The Greens need to put them on a diet of Gleditsia triacanthos – it’s adapted to sustain browsing by prehistoric megafauna.

  21. David Mac 23

    Jacinda’s speech was great. I think her blossoming oratory skills are lifting her to a level above her peers on both sides of the house. A Budget by nature is about money, I think her message that it’s about people was bang on the nation’s sweet-spot and will get cut through with the masses. ‘It ain’t about the money, it’s about the people.’ I think as a nation, we identify with that sentiment.

    • Chris T 23.1

      Up until 7 months ago Labour said it was about crises and not enough cash

      • mac1 23.1.1

        The crises did involve people, Chris T. You know, the crises was not the van that was being used as a home for young kids to live in. The crisis was with the family. And the cash? Not enough being spent in the right areas, that was the problem. Now the cash is being spent in better places. Cheaper doctor’s visits. Warm homes for us olds. Safe, healthy homes for lower income families with insulation. A determination to end homelessness, not just manage it. Protection for workers against exploitation. That sort of thing.

        • Chris T 23.1.1.1

          There is very little about housing other than 1600 state houses, when we are yet to see a kiwibuild.

          And while 10s of thousands of insulating houses sounds nice, the last lot did 100s of thousands

          • mac1 23.1.1.1.1

            From my notes taken as Robertson delivered the Budget. Housing.

            $2.1 billion announced in 2017 mini-budget. Another $1 billion in new funding, (including?) $369 million in new capital funding. No state houses to be sold. In public housing, $234 million to build 6,400 houses in four years. Councils to be involved again in housing. $143 million for insulation of lower income homes. 1400 homeless to be housed under the Housing First Programme, and their issues addressed. The target is to end homelessness, not manage it.

          • Barfly 23.1.1.1.2

            That was a Green initiative was it not? National occasionally being able to recognize a good idea shoved in their faces.

            • Muttonbird 23.1.1.1.2.1

              It was a Greens initiative, a massive policy win and part of their strong social advocacy.

              Ironic then that the Nats and their hangers-on want the Greens to drop social advocacy and stick to whales and dolphins.

              • savenz

                Yes, but in the scheme of things has the greens social advocacy worked, aka is there more quality housing available? The answer is no.

                When you just take an idea in isolation without really examining what the practical reality might be, you can become unstuck. I don’t blame the Greens for it, but some of them are in a middle class bubble without much reality of the people they advocate for’s reality might be or what they might want.

                There is a disconnect between government and advocate policy on housing and the practical reality of what is going on and who the victims will be.

                To give an example. It all sounds wonderful to make it compulsory to insulate houses but some people are so far removed from that middle class lifestyle that is based on that. it might do the opposite.

                Telling the homeless that Labour and Greens will help them… so far away from that when all the low cost housing has been made illegal and not longer available as an option.

                This is one of my favourite NZ films and is a documentary… … under new rules living in the houses that they live in, would be a crime so therefore the family in this example would have nowhere to go.


                Some people are not city people and don’t want that middle class life and increasingly many people earn so little that unless the government plans to provide 50%+ of the rental housing, then it is impossible to make the figures work between the cost of building a house, paying the ongoing costs rapidly rising like rates, insurance and maintenance and the cost of affordable rents.

                Some people don’t even want that life and they should be allowed to pursue an alternate life such as in the movie, in my view.

                For the majority of people they need to go back to the fundamentals of wages and try to get people to earn enough so they don’t need government support to afford the basics.

                But also like in the movie have enough flexibility so that people can also live an alternate lifestyle as in the movie.

                When asked in the movie, “what do I do for a living?”,

                Peter replies “I live for a living.”

                Life in NZ has become further and further away from ‘I live for a living’.

                • solkta

                  when all the low cost housing has been made illegal and not longer available as an option.

                  Yes that’s right, investors will start paying the mortgages on their rentals themselves rather than fork out the $4000 needed for insulation.

                  • savenz

                    My point is, if you are poor, would you prefer to be in an uninsulated house or homeless, because the policy seems to rely on the idea that the landlords will just pay the money and keep renting out the properties and keep upgrading properties that are in areas that are deprived with little rent coming in, or that someone who for example (like the movie) rents/koha some land with a barn on it that the family lives in because that is where their priorities lay at that time.

                    I know the Greens think it’s overall going to be helpful and overall it is, but probably not for about 15% of the poorest…or those who do not want to live the rat race lifestyle.

                    You have to be careful of cultural colonisation and I think some of the Greens ideas are getting close to that edge which is probably the opposite of everything they theoretically believe in.

                    It’s like the Christians converting the natives, they give them running water and God. Sometimes God over time works out worse because the interpretation of what is right, is done through people.

                    • solkta

                      the policy seems to rely on the idea that the landlords will just pay the money and keep renting out the properties

                      They will either pay for the insulation or sell the property. Anybody then buying the property will need to factor in the cost of the insulation if they want to rent it out.

                      This has had a lead in time of many years so it is not like the cost has just been dumped on investors.

      • patricia bremner 23.1.2

        Chris T, yes,Crises for people and not enough money invested in them.
        That changed today.

        • Chris T 23.1.2.1

          All good

          I fail to see any major promises being fulfilled, but it is the first of 3 before 2020 so who knows

  22. greywarshark 24

    Amy Adams is a lawyer isn’t she. I hope she does courtroom stuff. Her ability to maintain poise and tone and tell porkies is superb.

  23. Pete 25

    I’ve been busy all day and missed it all until a couple of moments on the news. I was impressed by the little bit they played of Simon Bridges’ speech.

    Did he write it himself at Christmas, or a couple of weeks ago when he was overseas on holiday? Or maybe bought it at the Formulaic Opposition Contribution Without Intelligent Thoughts Shop? (FOCWITS)

    • patricia bremner 25.1

      LOL LOL My hubby used to be a blue supporter. He heard Bridge’s first sentences and said “Turn the sound off”

      • mac1 25.1.1

        Too much “Shouty shouty” according to Jacinda Ardern “and not enough planny planny”.

        And very false figures from Bridges re health spending comparisons which were repeated by Carter and Ross later in the Budget debate.

        But as I wrote this, on TV 1 Seven Sharp a clever piss take on the performance by Paula Bennett in her support for her leader during the speech that hubby missed.

  24. greywarshark 26

    Fush and chips for all, and the trickle of vinegar down the post from the RWs. About as good as it can get. Enjoy while hot and fresh.

    • mac1 26.1

      So long as it’s vinegar, greywarshark, so long as it’s vinegar.

      But they do say that Nat’s piss is pretty weak.

  25. repateet 27

    Matthew Hooton pays homage to Ruth Richardson. Yes indeed, the mother of our Mother of All Budgets deserves recognition for the fine vision she brought to the finance job which sees us in such fine fettle as a country.

    Our society is the best it’s ever been. We are a well housed, well employed, very engaged, happy, cohesive, positive, healthy society. One would have to search high and low to find any indication of social disfunction or high needs.

    • Kat 27.1

      Hooton could be her love child…….on second thoughts love could have nothing to do with it.

      • dv 27.1.1

        Richardson did introduce the fiscal responsibility act to try to ensure the state of the countries finances were released before the election.
        That was maybe her only good thing.

  26. R.P Mcmurphy 28

    The government delivered with aplomb. going away as they say.
    theonly thing the nationals beat home was the ambulance.

  27. Matthew Whitehead 29

    While it’s a pretty decent budget overall with some great things happening in it, (independent costing of campaign promises, home insulation funding, foreign aid increases, counseling for young people, the families package, etc…) I would like to note some things I’m having difficulty finding:

    * Any increased safety or targetted initiatives for queer kiwis, especially when access to trans healthcare has been getting worse over time in New Zealand.
    * Funding for the promised reversal of loan limits for medical students, who often need more time to complete their degrees than the current system permits.
    * Any significant funding increases for mental health.
    * Benefit increases to deal with climbing costs and unlivable benefit levels, or even just funding to end the worst of the existing sanctions.

    It may be that some of this stuff will come out of operational spending, or be met in a future budget. There was a members’ chat with the Green co-leaders tonight (or I guess, yesterday night now) where they noted that they have seven of their twenty C&S promises funded in this budget, and expect to have another seven next year, and the final six by the third budget, so I can totally understand not having everything at once.

    What I don’t understand is why we’ve got a surplus in this budget when there is quite frankly urgent demands on spending that don’t require additional taxation to meet, and would be good for kiwis, save money on other services, and possibly even stimulate the economy. The Budget Responsibility Rules were always sold as for being followed in Business As Usual situations, not for dealing with under-investment or natural disasters, and we’re still recovering from both of those at the moment. Labour is being far too defensive fiscally speaking, and really needs to go on the attack a bit more.

    • dukeofurl 29.1

      What you dont understand there is NO CASH SURPLUS.

      On an accrual basis ( an accounting term) there is a surplus but then you add in capital spending and the net result is the government is borrowing to fund all this years activities.

      • SPC 29.1.1

        If there was a cash surplus … the more likely they would have spent up to the 30% government spending to GDP cap they will operate under.

    • roy cartland 29.2

      The gaping hole that I’m missing, which I think is related, is the reversal of the appalling tax gifts to the super-rich by Key. The m/billionaires are simply unaffordable, unsustainable and the unearned handouts to them need to stop.

  28. patricia bremner 30

    Mathew I looked for two things you mention as missing in this budget, as they affected people in my family, and thought perhaps the caution is, Jacinda has met Trump,/world politics/debt crises world finances/nz overdue for Alpine fault/ climate change/growing biosecurity threats m. bovis (foot and mouth?) ……. just a few real reasons for caution.

    Grant did promise more later, when results of studies are in and as things evolve. They have promised to end homelessness, and that takes money, so to promise with money in hand feels more solid than some previous hollow nat tokens. Our Government is achieving this without cuts to services.

    The review of social services may also throw up some expensive fixes. Moves to include all community service card holders in the reduced Drs fees will help, along with the winter warmth payment will assist those in ill health this winter.

    The biggest hope is our warm and impressive PM saying it is ‘the people the people who matter’. the cohesiveness of the coalition plan and their obvious recognition and use of each others strengths. Winston saying he went with Labour because of the beliefs which underpinned the budget and James acknowledging the Government for incorporating environmental low carbon and coservation as part of their budget.

    We have heard much of it before, and Grant has promised more to come…
    Bring it on! I say”Thank you Team!”

  29. Pat 31

    Robertson making a pretty good fist of selling his first budget….not an easy task given the wasted 9 years of planning omission in opposition. A lot of detailed planning required for the transformation needed, hopefully all well timed for the next election…..an aside, how long before Bridges is rolled?

  30. Rosemary McDonald 32

    Back down to earth….

    Y’all will have got the CTU Report on the Budget?

    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/together/pages/329/attachments/original/1526583055/CTU-Report-on-Budget-2018.pdf?1526583055

    “That means net debt falls faster
    when the NZSF is included. The international agencies include these assets when comparing countries. The Auditor-General has criticised the exclusion of these assets because they “pre-fund” future expenditure and therefore reduce New Zealand’s future liabilities
    3
    .
    We could set a debt target of around 10.0 percent on this more justifiable basis, which would still be among the lowest in the OECD. It would allow several billion dollars of prudent borrowing, freeing up funds for operational spending to address the large funding shortfalls left by the previous Government.
    The waste encouraged by the rigid debt limit is illustrated by the fact that Housing NZ will be required to fund its welcome house building programme by private borrowing, almost certainly at greater expense than the government could borrow. See the section on housing below.
    Because it is a Crown Entity, Housing NZ’s borrowing is not included in the ‘Net Core
    Crown Debt target. The limit leads to more expensive borrowing. ”

    I’d highlight that last paragraph if I could figure out how to..

    • dv 32.1

      It is sort of bizarre that crown entities borrow money at expensive rates, when the crown could issue the money.
      Then be repaid by the the income from the asset, with no (or minimal) interest cost!!

    • Herodotus 32.2

      The budget did take place yesterday ?
      From the lack of commentary I imagine the govt will be plenty pleased and the opposition ? Well what could you say ??
      I did notice from the CTU report that you so kindly attached, that wage growth is roughly that of CPI changes + GDP/person growth or real wages vs GDL/Person. So to me that means that wages are just keep pace.
      We hear of labour shortages and of the “trickle down” from a successful economy, from this report it doesn’t seem to be the case. Unless ….. you factor in govt welfare to the corporates by compensating some of the workforce in the form of WFF, accomodation supplements etc because wages do not cover living costs.

  31. ianmac 33

    There was the complaint that the Education Operations Grant did not even reach an increase of 2%. However Special Needs had been coming out of the Operations Grant but now will have a separate Dedicated Special Needs Fund.

  32. Cold Hard Truth 34

    Yes the so called boost for the health sector when measured on a yearly basis is not nearly enough. What looks like a right wing National budget from a supposedly left wing govt. Can’t say I’m surprised……

  33. Ffloyd 35

    Paula B was spectacular. She moved every adoring muscle in her face in support of Si. Kapai pukana. I was disappointed she didnt go whole hog and stick the tongue out and twirl a poi or two. She could show professional kapa haka performers a thing or two in eye rolling. if that is what she is getting paid for the country has been duped. A sad but riveting sight.

  34. Enough is Enough 36

    A good budget – Nothing spectacular.

    My only real concern is this Government is they appear to be worried about the way that National will try to spin this. They are therefore paranoid about the surplus and having a big number in that space to appease the business sector.

    Fuck appeasing big business and National. Just get out there and spend the money where it is needed, and be proud of being a big spending government.

  35. Cinny 37

    This budget is about us, it’s not a me, me, me budget, it’s a budget for the people of NZ, all of us.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 37.1

      Not for those on a s70A penalty rate for not naming the non custodial parent.

    • Grey Area 37.2

      I’m not as convinced as you are Cinny. I think it’s a good Green budget but neoliberal Grant Robertson is clearly not going to frighten the corporate horses and my fear is he never will.

      Better than National? Of course. What NZ needs? Maybe a B+.

  36. Jackel 38

    If you’re on the progressive left and that budget makes you happy, then I’d question your politics. Where’s the plan, Grant? Um, drift and see what happens. Ka Boom!!!

  37. Pat 39

    A sound analysis of the budget by Gordon Campbell…

    “In conclusion, one of the other costs threatening this government’s tidy budgeting plans is the future price of oil. During its nine years in government, National was blessed with the lucky combo of low oil prices and a high exchange rate, which took the political heat entirely out of the cost of petrol at the pump. Now, the coalition government faces the reverse; rising oil prices, and a sinking exchange rate, over the next year or so at least.

    So…what oil price is Treasury expecting over its forecast period? This morning, West Texas Intermediate sweet crude (WTI) is sitting at $US71.56 a barrel and climbing, with only about a $7 gap now between WTI and Brent Crude, which is headed skywards into the $80-100 zone. Once US sanctions are re-imposed on Iran –which resumed its oil exports in 2016 on the back of the nuclear arms deal – the price of oil will almost certainly tighten further, regardless of the US oil shale production that will go only some way towards countering the upwards trend.

    Yet under “ Key economic judgments and forecasts “ at page 7 of the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2018 document, we find this assumption: “West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices (will) fall from $US62.9 barrel in the March 2018 quarter to $US60 by mid 2018 and remain stable thereafter.” This cheery outlook is not one that many would share. Given New Zealand’s incredibly insular political climate, the rising price of petrol is likely to be blamed on the tax policies of our politicians, and not on events offshore. Hey, just another thing to keep Grant Robertson awake at nights.”

    Oil on the rise…and US 10 year rate as well…think the long looked for inflation may have just turned up

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    4 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
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    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
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