Investing in a growing economy

Columns
Thursday, June 2, 2016

Last week Bill English delivered the Budget for the coming year. Budget 2016 sees substantial investment in health and education and more support for businesses to create jobs on the back of a growing economy. 
 
Our eighth Budget forecasts rising surpluses and falling debt, with the economy expected to grow at around 3 per cent over the next four years. This means more jobs and higher incomes and more government support for Kiwis through better public services.

As our economy continues to grow we now have choices we simply did not have eight years ago.
 
Budget 2016 supports four significant measures, including $761 million for Innovative New Zealand – a package of science, skills and regional development initiatives to help grow and diversify the economy.
 
$2.1 billion for public infrastructure package focused on transport and schools.
 
$652 million for a Social Investment package to help the most at-risk New Zealanders lead better lives.
 
An additional $2.2 billion for the health sector over four years to ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to high-quality healthcare.
 
Our focus remains on achieving better results for Kiwis and their families from almost $80 billion in existing spending, and ensuring that $1.6 billion of new spending is directed where it will make a real difference.
 
A strong economy allows us to invest more in priority public services such as increased access to next-generation medicines, more elective surgeries and support for at-risk students in schools.
We saw that yesterday with the announcement that more funding for new classrooms in local schools is on its way.
 
We have also recently announced that we will be spending more on new medicines, including a new lifesaving melanoma treatment. In addition, we are establishing a new national bowel screening programme worth $39 million.
 
New Zealand has made significant progress over the past eight years. As a country, we’re more confident and our economy is growing. Our challenge over the next few years is to stay on course with a policy programme that’s working for all New Zealanders.


Jami-Lee Ross
Member of Parliament for Botany