Budget 2019

The Goodies:

1. MENTAL HEALTH:

$1.9 billion over five years, including $455m for new services of mental health workers at places such as health and doctors clinics to service those with low to mid mental health problems.

2. SCHOOL DONATIONS: From 2020, decile 1-7 schools will get a $150 per student payment from the Government if they get rid of so-called 'voluntary' donations. Cost: $265.6m over four years. NCEA fees scrapped.

3. BENEFITS: Benefits to be indexed to the average wage instead of inflation. Expected to put about $47 more a week into beneficiaries' pockets by 2023 – about $10-17 more than they would get under CPI. Cost: $320.2m over four years.

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4. TRAINS: $1.4 billion in funding for Auckland City Rail Link, after cost blow-outs. KiwiRail gets $1 billion to expand and fix old plant and tracks, $300m of which is for regional rail.

5. BUSINESS: A new $300m fund to allow start-ups to grow.

6. SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS: $1.7b for hospital buildings, $170m for DHBs. $1.2b for school buildings, over 10 years.

7. MĀORI: $81m over four years for Whanau Ora to expand, $208m to foster te reo Māori.

The Books:

8. LOOSENING THE BELT:

The Government is spending $1.4 billion more than it had planned to last year. The operating allowance has lifted from $2.4b to $3.8b – adding up to $15.2b over the next four years. There is also $10.4b in new capital expenditure.

9. SURPLUS: That means surpluses will be about $3b lower than forecast in each of the next four years. Forecast surplus of $3.5b for 2019 drops to $1.3b in 2020.

10. BUDGET RULES:

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Government will meet its Fiscal Responsibility Rules – just. Net debt hovers just above 20 per cent, dropping to 19.9 per cent in 2022.