A budget for all New Zealanders

Dana Kirkpatrick, MP


BUDGET 2024 was delivered on May 30, and we have been busy since, sharing the content of the budget and ensuring that people understand the approach taken by the coalition Government.

There were a number of examples of how combined approaches bring relief to low- and middle-income workers, such as the combination of tax relief and childcare rebates.

Average-income households will get up to an extra $102 a fortnight in tax relief, and eligible families will also get up to $150 every two weeks for childcare.

There were some great highlights in the budget that contribute to our region – $16 billion in the health budget over four budgets, with a focus on frontline services and $2.9 billion in the education budget across four years to try turn around attendance, support teachers, introduce structured literacy and to put education back on the “must do” list.  And significant investment in cyclone recovery where it is needed.

This Budget also supports Māori. I just spent about seven hours in Māori Affairs Select Committee scrutiny meetings with Minister for Māori Development and Whānau Ora, Tama Potaka, and his korero about his vision for the portfolio was refreshing and welcomed by all political parties.

The aspiration over time to reduce inequities and to close the income gap between Māori and non-Māori was an outcome we can all strive for.

The Government plans to shift decision-making closer to communities. This will allow the people who know their whānau and communities best to guide delivery for their people and iwi-Māori partnership boards are a key mechanism for achieving this.

I am pleased to see hauora Māori services are continuing.

This “by Māori for Māori” approach is working across the region – I spoke to people in a hauora this week who were excited about the focus on this work and keen to get going.

I know the work done by hauora is so important to our region and will be well supported.

We are also investing in $24 million over four years for Gumboot Friday to deliver more than 15,000 counselling sessions for young people and we are gradually extending free breast screening to an additional 60,000 women each year.

We have a key focus on getting people back into jobs and earning income rather than relying on the jobseeker benefit to live.  

It is so much better for everyone if our people are in paid employment. It is better for their world view, whatever that is, for their wellbeing, and for their children to see what it means to contribute meaningfully to their community.

Of course, we recognise that there will need to be support for people who come from households where work has not been a priority in the past.

It has been awesome to spend time in the regions with people on apprentice schemes – some who have been in prison and have never had a job.  

One young man in Gisborne was learning to drive diggers, tractors and trucks. He was so excited because he had finally found his passion.  

He told me, “it’s not about me anymore and I need to think about my family – and anyway active is the new attractive, I’m out there and loving it”.

This is the kind of support we can continue to make a real difference – he is on his way to a Class 2 truck licence and buzzing.

This Budget is about setting up all New Zealanders for future prosperity – we know when Māori do well, Aotearoa as a nation does well. If you haven’t checked yet, visit budget.govt.nz/taxcalculator to find out how much relief you’ll get – for some it may not be much, but it’s been a long time since anyone got tax relief. Remember, it takes time to turn this economy around, but we are working really hard on exactly that.

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