Opposition Leader Simon Bridges is angry that Budget 2018 delivered by his political adversaries is “all spend, all borrow and all taxes.”
That would seem an unfair comment but his job is to hold the government to account; more importantly, his job is to criticise everything that Labour does, even if it is a repetition of what his own government did.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has argued that the Budget that he delivered in Parliament was envisioned to ‘live within our means;’ and ‘that means, living well, with inclusiveness.’
More to New Zealand Police
Budget 2018 has provided the Police an additional $298.8 million over four years to recruit more Police Officers towards the goal of an additional 1800 police as provided for in the Coalition Agreement between Labour and New Zealand First.
Mr Robertson is also granting Police and Customs the staff and resources needed to crack down on gangs and organised crime and drug trafficking.
“We want the Police to have the time to investigate crime and deal with the underlying causes of offending, as well as focusing on victims and improving their connections with support services,” Mr Robertson said.
The Labour government is keen to stop the spiralling prison population and reduce it by 30% over the next 15 years.
According to Mr Robertson, Budget 2018 begins this journey, with investment in improved reintegration programmes including housing and support for training and development and better support people on probation and community sentences.
“This Budget will fund accommodation for 600 more prisoner places in rapid-build modular units. Meanwhile, initiatives are being developed to reduce the number of people in prison, while keeping New Zealanders safe. We are looking to improve youth justice also. Another $139.5 million will be provided over four years to go towards changes allowing 17-year-olds to be included in the youth justice system,” Mr Robertson said.
Budget 2018 includes an additional $37 million over four years for Maori Development, with a focus on Papakainga housing, development of Maori land, and providing training opportunities and support to rangatahi who are not in education, employment or training.
The Budget also provides $11.5 million of additional funding over four years to investigate and process the growing number of claims for recognition of customary rights under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act.
New funding of $11.4 million over the next four years has been allocated for initiatives to provide more teachers with the necessary training and resources.
Mr Robertson has promised a ‘Wellbeing Budget’ next year reporting the government’s annual progress against a range of measures that highlight the health and well-being of New Zealand, its people, environment and communities.
It will use the Living Standards Framework developed by the New Zealand Treasury to measure success.