The ten things you need to know about the Budget:


A $372 million surplus in the coming year - the first since 2008 - and forecast to reach $3.5 billion in 2018.

Bill English - return to surplus:

Bill English has delivered an election year Budget which includes a bigger than forecast surplus, free doctors' visits for 400,000 more children, big cuts to ACC levies and dangles the prospect of tax cuts in front of voters. Finance Minister Mr English said the Government's much vaunted return to surplus would be $372 million, still slender but well ahead of the wafer thin $86 million forecast six months ago thanks to a rosier economic outlook.


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

3. Free doctors visits' and prescriptions extended from children under six to those under 13.

4. 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.

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

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

7. Interest-free loan of $375 million for New Zealand Transport Agency to accelerate Auckland transport projects.

8. 5 cent duty on cheques abolished.


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

10. A further $198 million injection into Kiwirail to make its freight operations commercially viable, taking the cost of bailing out the state company to more than $1 billion.

Herald economics editor Brian Fallow gives his thoughts on today's Budget

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