Let’s sift the rhetoric and see the nuts and bolts.
Having had a quick review I don’t see any surprises from the National Party with this budget, it is still about building a strong economy, running at a surplus and reducing debt while looking after increased needs of health, education and social welfare. Sound stuff.
There are no changes in the fiscal priorities from last year. They are all steady as she goes and robust enough. Focus is still on returning to surplus this year and maintaining surpluses in the future while reducing net debt.
A further reduction in ACC and then beginning to reduce income tax in 2017 is welcomed.
Spending control with Crown expenses in the current year are expected to be $4 billion lower than was forecast in Budget 2011 that is pleasing to see.
Business innovation for Marlborough
Business will be easier by having new unique identifiers to use when interacting with government agencies.
$80 million extra for R&D growth grants will be good for some of us. Interestingly this will bring the spend in science and innovation to over $1.5 billion in 2015/16, a genuine government attempt to generate other and new income streams for the country.
Forestry is to get a $22 million boost for new plantings that has to be good as forestry is a key driver for our region.
Broad band and cell phone coverage issues have funding which will suit Marlborough. I can say here that Marlborough District Council with others and the Chamber are on the ball with this project.
Biosecurity is absolutely vital to protect New Zealand’s survival. While we have to trust those who know we can still ask the question, is an increase of $24.9 million enough?
New Zealand is on track for average growth of 2.8 per cent a year over the next four years – how much of that growth is envisaged to occur in the regions is a question I look forward to asking our MP Stuart Smith.
I read that Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye say next month’s Budget will provide $244 million of funding for new schools etc. We can only hope that the Marlborough Boys and Girls have a favourable outcome with this funding. That for the moment is wait and see.
On the face of it this is a good and sensible budget.