The foundations for a better future have been laid by Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson as they recently unveiled the first Budget of the Coalition Government.
We're building an economy that delivers for everyone, because we know that many middle income earners' wages haven't kept up with living costs, and many low income earners are struggling to even pay for the basics, or have a warm, dry home to raise their children in.
The economy remains strong under the Coalition Government's plan. Unemployment is forecast to drop to 4.1 percent in 2020, there will be 203,000 more jobs between December 2017 and June 2022, and GDP growth will average 3 per cent over the next three years.
This makes our labour market one of the strongest in the developed world.
At the same time we are reducing debt and running a good surplus, so we have extra money set aside for a rainy day.
This is the responsible thing to do.
We're rebuilding our health system by investing an additional $3.2 billion for more doctors, nurses and improved treatments, as well as $750 million to fix our hospitals.
We're also delivering cheaper or free GP visits and medicines for 600,000 Kiwis. Midwives will receive at 8.9 per cent wage increase.
We're ensuring education provides children with the skills they need for a better future. That's why we're increasing funding for early childhood education, providing 1500 new teachers and hundreds of new, modern classrooms.One thousand more children will be eligible for ORS funding.
This Budget follows through on our promise to tackle the housing crisis head-on.
We're investing $2 billion in KiwiBuild to build the affordable homes people need. I have been working with local developers around partnering with Government to deliver these houses. We're also building 6400 new state and community houses and providing 1400 new emergency housing places.
We're looking forward to safer communities too as we work towards adding another 1800 more police officers, bringing their services into the 21st Century with strengthened frontline services including community policing to cybercrime and fraud detection.
This Budget follows on from our announced Families Package that means 384,000 families will be better off by an average of $75 a week, and tens of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty.
All those receiving superannuation will automatically have an extra $20 per week per person, and $30 per couple, added to their pension payments from July 1.
This will assist with increased power consumption over the winter months.
Capital costs for commuter rail between Hamilton and Auckland will be funded by NZTA, so was not included in the Budget.
I'm proud of our Coalition Government and the foundations we're laying for New Zealand's future. We're doing things differently, transforming the economy so it works for people, not the other way around.
That's going to build us a future I'm energised and optimistic about.
Today we have something to look forward to.