Ten things you need to know about the Budget

By John Armstrong


* A $372m surplus in the coming year - the first since 2008 - and forecast to reach $3.5b in 2018.

* Treasury forecasting economic growth to average 2.8 per cent over the next four years, peaking at 4 per cent next year.

* free doctors visits and prescriptions extended from children aged under six to those under 13.

* paid parental leave extended from 14 to 18 weeks, and eligibility to be expanded to cover seasonal workers and those who have recently changed jobs.

* parental tax credit raised from $150 a week to $220 - and the payment period extended from the first eight weeks of a baby's life to 10 weeks.

* ACC on track for more cuts in levies, including possible $130 cut in levy for private vehicles.

* interest-free loan of $375m for New Zealand Transport Agency to accelerate Auckland transport projects.

* 5 cent duty on cheques abolished.

* import duties on plasterboard, reinforcing steel and nails suspended to cut the cost of building a new home by an estimated $3500.

* a further $198m injection into KiwiRail to make its freight operations commercially viable, taking the cost of bailing out the state company to more than $1b.

- Northern Advocate

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