Budget Speech

The Budget Speech is the Budget Statement the Minister of Finance delivers at the start of Parliament's Budget debate. The Budget Statement generally focuses on the overall fiscal and economic position, the Government's policy priorities and how those priorities will be funded.

Budget Speech
Published: 17 May 2018
Also published on the Treasury website.
Budget Speech
Budget Speech
PDF, 173 KB
DOC, 86 KB

Foundations for the Future

Mr Speaker, I move that the Appropriation (2018/19 Estimates) Bill be now read a second time.

Introduction and 100-Day Plan

I am delighted to present this Coalition Government’s first Budget.

Budget 2018 sets out the first steps in a plan for transformation – a transformation of our economy, a transformation of our public services, and a transformation of the way we work together to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.

This is a Government that does things differently. You can expect our Budgets to look a little different also.

We are committed to being responsible – not just fiscally, but socially and environmentally.

Budget 2018 lays the foundations for New Zealanders to have better lives in the decades to come.

This starts with making sure that all New Zealanders have access to the high quality public services they need and deserve – such as health, education and housing. 

It also means shifting the settings of our economy to face the challenges of the future – lifting productivity, making a just transition to a more sustainable low carbon economy, and adapting to a rapidly changing world of work.

This Government is determined to ride the leading edge of these waves of change. If we are to stay ahead, we know we need a good plan, and we need to work together as a country.

Our Government has a clear vision. Our priorities and intentions were set out for all to see in the Speech from the Throne and in our 100-Day Plan.

Our priorities are different from the previous government.  We are determined to turn the page on the ideology of individualism and a hands-off approach to our economy that has left too many people behind. 

Our first action was to reverse the untargeted tax cuts proposed by the previous government, so that we could deliver on our commitments to improve the lives of middle and low-income New Zealanders.

We have already delivered a significant programme of reforms:

  • Our Families Package will see $5.5 billion over the next four years focused on improving the living standards of those who need it most. When fully rolled out by 2021, this Package will see 384,000 families better off by an average of $75 per week; 
  • From July 1 this year, the Best Start payment of $60 per week will begin for every new born child in their first year and will continue for many thousands in their second and third years;
  • Also on the first of July, the Winter Energy Payment begins, helping superannuitants and those on main benefits meet their heating costs by providing $450 for a single person or $700 per couple;
  • The minimum wage increased to $16.50 an hour from April, and this will rise in phases to $20 an hour by 2021;
  • Paid parental leave has been extended, rising from 18 weeks, to 22 and then to 26 weeks by 2020.
  • The KiwiBuild programme has been established to deliver affordable housing;
  • The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act has been passed to ensure that all rentals are warm and dry;
  • We restarted payments into the NZ Superannuation Fund, after no government contributions had been made since 2009;
  • We have fully funded the first year of our fees-free post-school education and training policy; and
  • We introduced the Prime Minister’s Child Poverty Reduction Bill to set the targets and measures for making a significant and sustained drop in child poverty.

Those are just a few of the policies we have already made a start on, and paid for already.

There is of course still much to be done.

Transformation takes time. It cannot happen all at once. One Budget cannot instantly fix nine years of complacency and neglect.  We have to balance our ambitious goals with our responsibility for fiscal sustainability. 

Budget 2018 sets out the foundations of this Coalition Government’s plan for the next three years, and looks towards the next thirty years for New Zealand.

I would like to acknowledge the work of the partners in this Government. The Labour Party is proud to work with our Coalition partner New Zealand First and our Confidence and Supply Partner the Green Party. These Parties comes from different traditions but are bound together by a shared purpose to improve the lives of all New Zealanders and across future generations. Our agreed commitments will continue to be our guiding force across this term of government, and they will be delivered.

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