Rt Hon Bill English
When presenting Budget 2017 on May 25, Finance Minister Steven Joyce spoke about the growth New Zealand is experiencing – and the need for investment in infrastructure, public services and business to support and sustain this growth.
In Auckland, growth is tangible and the opportunities it presents are significant. That is why Budget 2017 invests in sustaining the city’s economic growth, and ensuring the benefits of it are directly shared with all Aucklanders.
This budget delivers for New Zealanders, recognising the hard work of so many to transform New Zealand into a confident country, with a robust, well-managed economy that is the envy of many in the developed world.
For Auckland, Budget 2017 provides $436 million of new capital for Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL). The CRL is a game-changer for central Auckland and this funding demonstrates the Government’s commitment to Auckland’s transport network.
The budget also includes $9 billion of capital investment for our state highways. Key projects being progressed in Auckland include the Western Ring Route, the Northern and Southern Corridor State Highway 1 improvements, the East West Link and Puhoi to Warkworth.
A Crown land building programme will see 34,000 houses built in Auckland over the next 10 years – that’s the equivalent of three and a half houses on every street. It will be the biggest Housing NZ build programme since the 1950s.
The Government’s commitment to Auckland schools is demonstrated by a $278 million investment to provide for four new schools, an expansion, a rebuild, and around 170 more classrooms across the city. New funding takes the total education spend to $11.6 billion this year.
A centre-piece of Budget 2017 is the Family Incomes Package, which will benefit around 1.3 million working-age families by an average of $26 a week. The package will also benefit 750,000 superannuitants.
Many Auckland families and students will also receive more assistance with their housing costs and benefit from changes to Working for Families and tax thresholds. Many Aucklanders will also be eligible for more help to pay for high housing costs. These changes are expected to lift 20,000 households above the threshold for severe housing stress.
Budget 2017 also delivers an extra $3.9 billion into health over four years, taking the total health investment to a record $16.8 billion.
We have a clear economic plan to keep this country on track, including further investment to support growth, investment in core public services that New Zealanders rely on – all the while significantly reducing our debt.