Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Announced: Budget date set for May 26

Finance Minister Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget on May 26. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Finance Minister Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget on May 26. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Finance Minister Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget on May 26 but has stopped short of committing to deliver another surplus and instead says the Government will chip away at its debt levels.

Mr English announced the Budget date of May 26 today and said its primary focus will be on jobs and incomes.

Although the Government books momentarily slipped back into the black with a $414 million surplus in 2015, Mr English had since made it clear he would not repeat such a firm target. He said the Government would continue to try to restrict its spending and credited that with turning an $18.4 billion deficit in 2011 into a $414 million surplus in 2015 "but our focus is now on paying down debt built up following the Global Financial Crisis and Canterbury earthquakes".

Mr English said although there were positive signs in the economy, such as the drop in unemployment to 5.3 per cent, there was still a lot to do.

"Budget 2016 will be about building on that success and ensuring that New Zealand families continue to see the benefits of a stronger economy."

The Government has signalled it will lift the cap on new spending and hopes to introduce further income tax cuts in 2017.

- NZ Herald

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