Wellington, December 14, 2017
The Government is delivering on its commitment to manage New Zealand’s finances responsibly while ensuring the dividends of economic growth are more fairly shared.
We promised that we would be a Government of change.
Together with our coalition partner, New Zealand First and our confidence and supply partner, the Green Party, we have made a clear choice to put the wellbeing of all New Zealanders firmly at the heart of what we do.
Government with a difference
Today’s Budget Policy Statement and our 100-Day Plan announcements are proof that the Government I lead will be different, one that will lead the country in a new, positive and inclusive direction.
It will be a Government that makes reducing child poverty and inequality a priority.
That is why we are moving with urgency to introduce legislation for the Families Package. This delivers on one of the key promises of our 100-Day Plan, alongside running balanced Budgets and paying down debt.
We can pay for the Families Package and our fees-free policy for post-secondary education by cancelling National’s tax cuts.
The Families Package will provide a significant boost to the incomes of low- and middle-income families. No family will be worse off than they are today, and most families with children will be better off.
When fully rolled out in 2020-2021, about 384,000 families with children will be better off by an average of $75 a week, with many lower-income families receiving more.
We know that working families struggle at times to provide the very best for their children. The early years of a child’s life are critically important to their long-term wellbeing and development.
Reducing child poverty
The Families Package is projected to lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2020/21* – a 48% reduction in the number of children living in poverty compared to the status quo. That is 39,000 more children lifted out of poverty than under the previous National Government’s package.
The Families Package includes a targeted boost to Working for Families, giving more money to low- and middle-income families with children, and increasing the number of families who will be eligible for support.
Best Start Programme
The money saved from reversing National’s tax cuts also allows us to invest in Best Start as part of the Families Package. Every child deserves the best start in life; our policy will provide an income boost for all families with newborns.
The Families Package includes the Winter Energy Payment, providing a welcome support to one million superannuitants and beneficiaries who face big heating bills in winter.
This will provide long-term gains for the country and is fiscally responsible. We can do this while meeting all the targets we have set ourselves under the Budget Responsibility Rules, and without raising anyone’s personal income tax.
The steps we are taking today show this Government’s determination to make a difference to the lives of many New Zealanders so more can share in the gains of economic growth.
It is about priorities and choices.
* Defined as living in a household with an income less than 50 per cent of median equivalised household income before deducting housing costs
Jacinda Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The above is a press statement issued today as a part of the Mini-Budget introduced to Parliament by the new government this afternoon (December 14, 2017).