New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan
Budget 2013: Back on track
New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English delivered the 2013 budget today, which included a series of hard-hitting reforms aimed at bursting the housing bubble and providing affordable housing for low income families.
He also delivered on his promise that the Government would return to surplus after five years of budget deficits, forecasting a NZ$75 million surplus in 2014/15. He has attributed this outcome to improved tax revenues, business growth initiatives and public sector efficiency. In order to reduce government debt and achieve a surplus, spending in next year's Budget will be $1 billion, $200m less than previously signalled.
Mr English pointed to increasing wages, low interest rates and "modest" cost of living increases as clear indicators that the economy was back on track following the global economic crisis and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. He has also confirmed NZ$ 2 billion towards the reconstruction effort in Christchurch.
New legislation will be introduced to tackle housing affordability by giving central government more control over the consenting process. A number of initiatives to help low-income families were announced including extending income-related rents to non-government housing and consideration of zero or no-interest loans.
The budget also includes significant new expenditure in the health sector and $100 million per year for an internationally focused growth package, including $10 million a year to attract international students and promotion of tourism and research, science and innovation.
You can find all information regarding the 2013 Budget at http://www.budget.govt.nz/