This year’s Budget invests in the future of our communities.
The Budget is an important part of our plan to build a brighter future for all New Zealanders. Its priorities are (a) Responsibly managing Government finances (b) Building a more competitive and productive economy (c) Delivering better public services and (d) Rebuilding Christchurch.
This year’s Budget invests in the future of our communities. It will stimulate new jobs and deliver better services for families while keeping the Government on track for surplus in 2014-2015 and strengthen our economy.
Despite difficult financial conditions, investing in better frontline health services is our priority. Over four years, we will commit almost $1.5 billion extra to our public health service. This will help deliver more operations and shorter waiting times for our citizens.
Our National-led Government will also increase annual spending on science and innovation by $385 million over four years, as well as committing $511.9 million towards new early childhood and schooling initiatives.
The importance of our education system is also highlighted with $59.8 million investment in supporting teacher quality through professional development for teachers and principals.
We are committed to building a brighter future for all New Zealanders and their families. Keeping this commitment in mind, we will invest $34 million towards preparing schools with ultra-fast broadband, and $88.1 million towards building new hospitals.
In terms of law and order we are serious about making our communities safer by reducing offending.
In order to achieve this, we are further strengthening our focus on rehabilitation and reintegration. Based on our efforts, we hope to achieve 25% reduction in reoffending by 2012.
The above highlight our commitment towards responsibly managing government finances, imperative in such difficult times.
Our Government wants to ensure that public services are more efficient and we are focused on improving our frontline services, reducing costs where applicable to delivering better results.
Due to our focus on improving public services, Finance Minister Bill English has freed up $4.4 billion towards reinvestment for better results from frontline services.
Budget 2012 maintains our commitment to rebuilding Christchurch.
Almost $1.6 billion of the $5.5 billion Canterbury Earthquake Recover Fund was spent in 2010-2011.
Most of the remaining funding is expected to be spent by 2015.
Budget 2012 is another strong and positive step towards achieving our goal of a more productive and competitive economy to support New Zealanders in uncertain times.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is Member of Parliament on National List.