Promoting economic development and supporting the regions
Budget 2018 invests in economic development and productivity, with a focus on supporting regional economies to deliver shared prosperity for all.
The promoting economic development and supporting the regions package provides $2.8 billion of new operating funding and $1.2 billion of capital funding. This includes funding in the following key areas:
Infrastructure, productivity and the regions
We are investing in the infrastructure needed to get New Zealand moving. Budget 2018 invests in the Auckland City Rail Link, provides funding to Crown Infrastructure Partners to invest in critical water and roading infrastructure to increase housing supply, and invests in KiwiRail to support a modern rail network. We will boost productivity in the regions through the Provincial Growth Fund and enable our businesses to operate more efficiently.
Research and development
Innovation is critical to our ability to grow a more productive economy. Budget 2018 invests over $1 billion in an R&D tax incentive to encourage businesses to innovate. We are also investing in improving the performance and transparency of New Zealand's science investments through a National Research Information System.
New Zealand's international presence
Our ability to afford quality public services at home is linked to our ability to connect and trade successfully with the rest of the world. Budget 2018 includes investment to build foreign and trade policy capacity, which will improve our relationships and strengthen our voice internationally. We are boosting our offshore presence with a new embassy in Stockholm and funding our representation at the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We are significantly boosting Official Development Assistance to do our part internationally to respond to global issues such as climate change, particularly in the Pacific.
Employment and immigration
Budget 2018 properly funds employment and immigration services, including an increase in the number of labour inspectors, and funding for compliance and border activities to combat migrant exploitation. We are funding an additional 800 places for the Limited Service Volunteer programme to improve the work-readiness of unemployed 18 to 25-year-olds, and targeting further investment to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment and training (NEETs).