Budget 2024: Winners and losers

By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission

This year’s Budget has been revealed and like any year, there are the haves and have-nots.

While some of it is up for debate depending on what side of the political spectrum you lean towards, here are a few of the outcomes of the government’s funding divvy-up this year.

The ‘winners’

‘Back Pocket Boost’ is back

The Budget documents stated 1.9 million households would benefit from the overall relief package by an average of $30 a week. Households with children would benefit by $39 a week on average.

A minimum wage worker can expect about $12.50 a week, while superannuitants will take home just $4.50 a week.

The Independent Earner Tax Credit is also being expanded, with the upper limit for eligibility rising from an income of $48,000 to $70,000, with amounts reducing from $66,000+ instead of $44,000+.

The in-work tax credit will also go up by up to $25 a week from 31 July. National had campaigned on that kicking in from 1 April.

The relief package also includes a childcare payment for low-and-middle-income households as already announced by Willis in March.

Roads

The government is pumping $2.68 billion in to transport over four years, and more than two thirds of that’s being spent on roads.

There is $1b over four years to accelerate Roads of National Significance and $939.3 million over four years to repair roads damaged during North Island weather events.

Health

Healthcare’s getting a whopping $16.7b in new funding – though that’s spread over three Budgets.

Among the standout amounts there are:

  • $3.44b over four years for Health NZ hospital and specialist services
  • $2.12b over four years for primary, community and public health
  • $1.77b over four years to maintain Pharmac funding
  • $1.1b over five years to address demand and cost pressures for the Ministry of Disabled People Whaikaha

Landlords

There’s $729m being spent on restoring interest deductibility for residential rental property.

Police

Police are getting $226.1m over four years for an extra 500 police and there’s also $424.9m over four years to support frontline policing.

Education

Schools and kura kaupapa property are getting a $1.48b boost over four years and there’s also $200m in grants for operating schools, too.

There are also boosts for school IT infrastructure and subsidies for ECEs and tertiary tuition and training.

Māori

There’s $12 million over four years for Kōhanga Reo property maintenance.

Te Matatini received another boost in this years budget, from 2025 they will get $48.7m over three years. That goes with the $34m over two years the National kapa haka festival received in Budget 2023.

Natural disaster response

There’s a fair bit in the Budget for this sector and it’s perhaps no surprise, coming in the wake of the mop-up for events like Cyclone Gabrielle.

This $939.3m is clearly that – spread over four years, it’s to repair roads damaged during Cyclone Gabrielle, the Auckland floods and other North Island weather events.

There’s $200m for flood infrastructure upgrades in the $1.2b Regional Infrastructure Fund.

In the same sphere, there’s $5m for the creation of the National Infrastructure Agency and the somewhat adjacent $106.9m over four years operational funding for GeoNet and the National Seismic Hazard Model.

There’s also $23.1m over four years for critical frontline rescue services to respond to severe weather events and emergencies.

In addition, the Climate Emergency Response Fund is getting $597m, paid for through the ETS.

Local councils

The Waste Disposal Levy is being expanded to cover a wider range of projects with an expected result of $1.195b over four years.

The ‘losers’

The country’s debt level

The government borrowing programme over the next four years was increased by $12b from December’s forecast.

Net debt is forecast to peak at 43.5 percent of GDP in 2025 and is forecast to remain above the government’s 40 percent ceiling for the following three years.

Tax evaders

It’s not a good day if you’re a tax evader – the government is pumping $147m into cracking down on tax evasion.

The next lot of first-year uni students

The government is switching fees-free from first year to final year of university – with an expected saving of $220m.

Overseas student loan borrowers

Interest rates for overseas borrowers are set to increase from 3.9 percent to 4.9 percent from 1 April 2025.

Online gambling operators

It’s expected there will be $47m extra from taxing online casino operators.

Māori

The disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority is set to save the government $35.5 million.

Ongoing funding of $40 million for new supply and capability of Māori housing has been cut. This returns uncontracted funding.

And $20 million of funding for Rangatahi transitional housing has been returned to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, this funding was also uncontracted.

NZ Film Commission, NZ Symphony Orchestra, and Nga Taonga Sound and Vision

The government’s saving $5.55m over four years by spending less on these institutions.

The Consumer Advocacy Council

It’s being scrapped – that’s a saving of $5.72m over four years.

Energy programmes

The government’s saving $38.27m over four years by scaling down initiatives like the Community Renewable Energy Fund.

There’s also $178m over four years in savings from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, including discontinuing new Warmer Kiwi Homes subsidies for hot water heaters, energy-efficiency measures, an LED lighting scheme, and community-focused outreach for hard-to-reach households.

The Wellington Science City project

It’s gone – and being scrapped to the tune of $462.8m of savings over four years.

Pharmac

During the campaign, National pledged to give Pharmac an extra $70m a year over four years in ring-fenced funding to target 13 specific cancers.

However, that hadn’t been possible this budget, Willis said – but noted the coalition remained committed to following through on its commitment in future Budgets.

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