Labour would spend billions more on health and education

Labour has released a budget that delivers a huge funding boost for health, significantly increases education spending and pays for an extra 1000 police.

It's a budget the party plans to present if it wins the election - although it would first have to run it past its coalition partners who would have their own priorities.

Health would be given $8 billion more than the Government intends putting in over the next four years.

Education would get $4b more and there would be $43 million for the extra 1000 police.

There's around $2b a year for housing and community development to meet the promise of 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years.

Despite the big spending, the budget forecasts surpluses through to 2021/22 and ongoing debt repayment.

It scraps the tax cuts in the Government's Families Package and there's no mention of benefit increases.

Labour would set up a tax working group mandated to create "a better balanced tax system".

Infrastructure plans include beginning the construction of a light rail network in Auckland and commuter rail in Christchurch.

Research and development tax credits would be increased.

The budget sets a target of reducing unemployment to a level that's "among the lowest in the OECD".

As previously announced, a Labour-led Government would immediately resume contributions to the NZ Super Fund with $500,000 in the first year rising to $2.5b in 2021/22.

The party is pledging to keep the retirement age at 65.

Labour leader Andrew Little says setting a budget is about priorities, and Labour's priorities are different to National's.

"Labour's fiscal plan prioritises new investment in housing, health, education and infrastructure," he said.

"We have prioritised these things over tax cuts."

Finance spokesman Grant Robertson says the budget is about rebuilding core public services and reducing inequality and poverty.

"The last nine years have seen a systematic under-funding of core public and social services by the National government."

The main points of Labour's budget:

  • $8 billion more for health over four years
  • $4b more for education
  • $43 million for 1000 extra police
  • Around $2b a year for housing
  • Surpluses in all four years, reaching $2.6b in 2021/22
  • Resumed contributions to the NZ Super Fund
  • No tax cuts, but a panel appointed to work on "a fairer system"
  • Crackdown on multinationals expected to deliver $600m over three years
  • Ongoing debt repayment