Bay News column
In two weeks Finance Minister Bill English will deliver the National-led Government’s seventh Budget. It will be a Budget that builds on the strong foundations we’ve laid through our economic programme over the past six years.
Our strong, growing economy, backed by the Government’s clear economic plan, is translating into real benefits for New Zealand households and businesses.
We have one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world. 80,000 new jobs have been created in the past year. Inflation and interest rates are low. Wages, on average, are increasing faster than the cost of living.
But there is much more to be done. A couple of good years are not enough to change our long-term well-being. We also need to remain wary of the risk and challenges in an uncertain and changing world.
The Budget will focus on continuing the Government’s consistent programme of sensible reforms. In his pre-Budget speech, the Prime Minister outlined some important announcements.
Two ways we can achieve sustainable, long-term growth are through innovation and investing in the education of our young people.
We will invest another $80 million over four years in encouraging more private sector research and development. This is on top of the $566 million we had already committed to private sector R&D grants over four years. The National-led Government has boosted science funding significantly since we took office. This year it will total $1.5 billion, a 70 per cent increase since 2008.
We will also provide another $244 million over the next four years to fund seven new schools, major expansions at four other schools, and an extra 240 classrooms at existing schools right across New Zealand.
Thanks to the hard work of New Zealanders up and down the country, we’re in a strong position to build a brighter future. Providing we stick to our clear plan, we can deliver the opportunities and security New Zealanders and their families deserve.