Nicola Willis will deliver her first full Budget as Finance Minister on May 30.
She announced the date during an appearance before Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee on Monday afternoon to talk about her “mini-Budget”, released late last year.
Willis will detail what her priorities will be and how much she will expand the Government’s operational and capital expenditure by on March 27, when she will release her Budget Policy Statement.
Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson grilled Willis for not releasing the statement further in advance of the Budget.
Willis responded saying the timing was normal for the first Budget following an election.
She said the aim of the Budget would be to deliver tax relief, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order.
Willis will have more to say at the Budget about funding cuts across the public sector of as much as 7.5 per cent per agency.
She stressed cuts wouldn’t affect “front-line” staff, but said she’d ultimately leave it to heads of departments to tell her where cuts could be made.
Coming back to the tax cuts, National and Act are proposing slightly different changes to the income tax system. While both want to deliver cuts, Act’s preference is to have a flatter tax system with fewer thresholds.
National and Act are also not in agreement over how to phase out the interest limitation rule, which currently prevents residential property investors from deducting all their mortgage interest as an expense when paying tax.
Act would like it phased out more quickly than National. Controversially, this would require changing investors’ tax obligations in the current tax year.
Willis said she would confirm how the rule would be phased out before the Budget.
Jenee Tibshraeny is the Herald’s Wellington business editor, based in the Parliamentary press gallery. She specialises in government and Reserve Bank policymaking, economics and banking.