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 Speech
Budget Speech
PDF, 173 KB

Mr Speaker, I move that the Appropriation (2019/20 Estimates) Bill be now read a second time.

It is my great pleasure to present the second Budget of this Coalition Government and the first Wellbeing Budget for New Zealand.

From the day we took office, this Government has committed to putting the wellbeing of current and future generations of New Zealanders at the heart of everything we do. Budget 2019 shows we are delivering on that commitment.

It shows a Government that is not satisfied with the status quo. In the election that led to the formation of this Government New Zealanders were asking a core question: If we have declared success because we have a relatively high rate of GDP growth, why are the things that we value going backwards like child wellbeing, a warm, dry home for all, mental health services or rivers and lakes that we can swim in?

And the answer to that question was that the things that New Zealanders valued were not being sufficiently valued by the Government. And because they were not being valued they were not being measured, and because they were not being measured, they were not being done.

So, today in this first Wellbeing Budget, we are measuring and focussing on what New Zealanders value - the health of our people and our environment, the strengths of our communities and the prosperity of our nation. Success is making New Zealand both a great place to make a living, and a great place to make a life.

Mr Speaker,

I am proud to be part of a Government that is doing things differently. Because not only has this Budget measured our success differently, we have embedded wellbeing at every stage of the creation of this Budget - from setting priorities, to analysing proposals to making the inevitable trade-offs that come with the privilege of being in government.

For me, wellbeing is when people are able to lead fulfilling lives which have purpose and meaning to them. A government does not determine a person's wellbeing, but we can certainly play a part. Ensuring New Zealanders have the capabilities to do this requires tackling the long-term challenges we face as a country.

I want to sincerely thank all members of this Government for their support for this new way of doing things. New Zealand First and the Green Party have embraced this new approach. The Coalition Agreement, the Confidence and Supply Agreement and the Speech from the Throne remain the foundation documents of our Government and in this Budget we take further steps to deliver on them, building on the Foundations for the Future Budget in 2018.

Mr Speaker,

Before moving to discuss the details of the Budget, it is important to acknowledge that it was put together in the shadow of the March 15 terror attacks. That day changed the lives of the families of the 51 who died, those who were hurt or injured, and the wider community, particularly the Muslim community.

As a country we must continue, as the Prime Minister said in the days after, to walk alongside them in their grief. In addition, we need to take the lessons from this tragedy to build a better, kinder, more inclusive country. Over the last two months and in this Budget we have made provision for a number of direct responses to the terror attacks.

We have increased funding for mental health support services in Christchurch, put in place funding for additional financial support for families, and increased funding for support to our wider ethnic communities.

This Budget also sets aside $150 million for the gun buy-back scheme based on initial advice from officials. Any additional funding that is required for the scheme will be sought as needed.

Following on from the Royal Commission into the attacks we will consider what funding or support is required to ensure our security and intelligence services provide New Zealanders with the information and confidence they need. In the meantime this Budget allocates an additional $50 million to support the New Zealand Intelligence Community to continue its work.

Mr Speaker,

This is usually the point in a Minister of Finance's Budget speech where they discuss the economic and fiscal outlook.

But in applying a wellbeing approach to this Budget, we have not only examined the performance of our economy and finances, but also the welfare of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities. So, the Budget presents a wellbeing outlook.

My ambition is that from now on, at every Budget, New Zealanders will be able to clearly see the direction their country is travelling in and how the Government of the day plans to influence that direction with the investments it makes.

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