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: 30 May 2019
Also published on the Treasury website.

Budget Priorities, part 7

Mr Speaker,

Before I finish today I want to be clear that, as significant as it is, this Budget is just one step in a longer process of reforms. For the Government to embed wellbeing into how we undertake public policy and make decisions, we need to go beyond the Budget process.

We are amending the Public Finance Act to ensure that broader framing is used in the development of each Budget, as we have done with the Budget delivered today. Each year, the Government will be required to set out how its wellbeing objectives, together with its fiscal objectives, will guide its Budget and fiscal policy. In addition, the Treasury will be required to report on current and future wellbeing outcomes at least every four years.

The Government will also reform the public finance system and the State Sector Act to reduce risk aversion, promote innovation, and support a more rapid response by the public sector to issues and challenges. This will mean changes to budgeting, planning and accountability requirements for agencies.

Mr Speaker,

The Wellbeing Budget is about a new approach to tackling New Zealand's long-term challenges. We do not claim perfection on this first attempt. But we do believe that this Budget represents a significant step forward.

Our priorities are clear:

  • taking mental health seriously;
  • breaking the cycle of child poverty and domestic violence;
  • supporting Māori and Pasifika aspirations;
  • investing in crucial national infrastructure, like building new hospitals and schools; while
  • managing the books responsibly; and
  • addressing long-term economic challenges such as building a sustainable economy and preparing for the jobs of the future.

In 1968 Robert Kennedy bemoaned the limits of GDP in a well quoted speech. In it he concluded that it “measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

Today, Mr Speaker, 51 years on, we begin through this Budget to value and to measure all that makes life worthwhile in New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, I commend to this House, the Wellbeing Budget.

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