Budget: Families to get boost of up to $50 a week
Some inside the Government are saying a family with two kids where one parent is working could get up to $50 through changes to tax, Working for Families and the accommodation supplement.
One thing is for sure it has to be meaningful, and more than a block of cheese - which cost $7.98 at Pak'n'Save today. If that is the case, the Budget will be a significant incursion into Labour territory as National tries to use it to win the election.
And that is the catch - the package won't come in until next year, you will have to vote National to get it.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce has control of the country's books, the Budget is his.
He couldn't get the grin off his face on Tuesday, but there isn't so much grinning out there for real people like Karyn Wick.
She and her partner both work but they earn under the average wage. They have a mortgage and two kids - the struggle is real.
"Everything is going up - your power, and your phone and your food and petrol - everything goes up but your wages don't," Ms Wick says.
"I think there's all sorts of people that have pressure in their lives," the Finance Minister says.
Mr Joyce is dropping a big hint that a budget boost is on its way for low to middle income earners through what's called a "Families Income Package".
He hinted at "the opportunity to do something - hopefully in family incomes."
It's almost certain the package will include a change to tax thresholds.
Tax thresholds work like this:
- On your first $14,000 you pay 10.5 percent in tax
- On your next $14,000 - 48,000 you pay 17.5 percent in tax
- On $48-70,000 its 30 percent
- Above $70,000 it hits 33 percent
By pushing up these thresholds you would pay a lower rate on more of your income - keep more money, pay less tax.
"We seem to pay an awful lot at the moment - any extra money that comes into your house would be wonderful," Ms Wick says.
Karyn Wick gets a Working for Families Payment.
- There's currently 320,000+ payouts
- The average payment is $130 a week
- It costs the taxpayer $2.4 billion a year
Working for Families could change come Thursday, Mr Joyce shying away from questions.
"Well we could just go through a whole range of things - but we're not, so thanks for the opportunity."
Then there's the accommodation supplement, which could also be lifted:
- 285,000 households get this a year
- An average of $71 a week nationwide and $99 in Auckland
- This costs the taxpayer $1.2 billion a year
Mr Joyce says Kiwis will have to wait until the Budget announcement.
"I'm just going to get into conjecture ahead of Thursday - but I do compliment you on your persistence."
The grinning Finance Minister is out to crack a smile from New Zealanders doing it tough.