Bay News column

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Last week a number of the Government’s Budget announcements policies and promises took effect, meaning that you and your family will be better off and have more money in your pocket.

On 1 July registering your car became a lot cheaper. Those with a petrol car will save up to $130 a year on their registration, and those with a diesel vehicle up to $170. The ACC petrol levy also reduced from 9.9 cents a litre to 6.9 cents, saving you money every time you get behind the wheel.

These levies are used to pay for the services that we provide to people who are injured in accidents. We have been able to reduce the amount because of the improved financial position of ACC’s accounts. It is important to note that in 2008/09 ACC recorded a $4.8 billion deficit. Since National took office we have implemented reforms that have turned around ACC’s performance and made these reductions possible.

Also on 1 July all children under 13 became eligible for free GP visits and prescriptions. This was a Budget 2014 commitment that we would provide $90 million to extend the zero-fees scheme for children under six. I know many families worry about the costs of a doctor’s visit or medicine for their children, so this will come as a big relief. Around 38,000 children in the Bay of Plenty are expected to benefit from this.

Paid parental leave payments have also increased, from $504.10 to $516.85 per week. This is on top of the extension from 14 to 16 weeks that came into effect on 1 April this year, and a further two weeks from next year.

National’s careful and responsible management of the Government’s finances and our efforts to build a more competitive and productive economy means we have been able to deliver real benefits to families.