Weekend Sun column
Finance Minister Bill English has delivered the National-led Government's eighth Budget. In a pre-Budget speech, Minister English indicated that this year would have a strong focus on investing in our growing economy. It will advance the Business Growth Agenda put in place over recent years to facilitate a more productive, innovative and competitive economy.
It will also show our continued focus on delivering better public services. We had already announced a number of items that are included in Budget 2016 - an extra $124 million for Pharmac to fund more lifesaving drugs, $15 million for more teacher aides for special needs children in school, $41 million for additional 3000 emergency housing placements a year and a $187 million small business tax package that will reform provisional tax.
Getting the Government's finances in order also remains a priority. Last Budget we had a small surplus, a huge turnaround from an $18.4 billion deficit in 2011. We have prioritised additional Crown debt-repayment in 2017 ahead of setting aside money in next year's budget for tax cuts. National's focus is on New Zealand's long-term interests in an uncertain international economic environment.
As the party committed to cutting personal taxes over time, New Zealanders can look forward to National delivering tax cuts as the fiscal situation further strengthens in the future.